Stacked containers. Photo via Maryland Port Administration.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the Port of Baltimore a $6.6 million grant to deepen an existing berth, the area where a cargo ship is moored, allowing two supersized container ships to offload cargo simultaneously.

The project will cost $32.7 million in all, with $7.8 million from the state, and $18.4 million from Ports America Chesapeake, the operator of the Seagirt Marine Terminal, according to a release from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office.

In 2010, a 50-foot deep berth was constructed at the terminal as part of a public-private partnership, one of the few to exist on the East Coast. Earlier this year, the largest-ever container ship to bring cargo through the state, the Gunde Maersk, came to the port.

If the latest figures hold, the port is on pace to surpass its record-setting 2017, during which 596,972 containers were unloaded. Through October, that number has increased 5 percent compared to last year.

According to the state, the Port of Baltimore ranks first among all ports in the country in handling imports of cars and light trucks, heavy farm equipment, construction machinery and sugar, and 12th in overall tonnage.

Maryland also received a $20 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build a new interchange on I-95, which is supposed to help trucks access the Principio Business Park in Cecil County.

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore...