Baltimore wins long-term commitment for Mercedes imports
Mercedes-Benz USA signed a new 20-year lease Monday with the state of Maryland for a terminal to process automobile imports at the Port of Baltimore. The long-term commitment replaces a 10-year lease signed last year.
Under the contract, Mercedes-Benz guarantees to import a minimum of three million cars, bound for dealers in the Midwest, through the port during the original term of the deal, which also includes two 10-year options.
Mercedes has used Baltimore as a point of entry for its vehicles since 1965. Mercedes has a facility at the Dundalk Marine Terminal and a processing facility in Bellcamp, Md., in the northeast part of the state, Maryland Port Administration spokeswoman Darlene Frank said.
Mercedes will now consolidate its receiving and final delivery preparation operations on 104-acres at the Fairfield Auto Terminal, shared with other auto manufacturers. Mercedes will occupy an area that includes a former Toyota terminal, Frank said. Once the new terminal is fully operational, Mercedes expects to import 160,000 cars per year through Baltimore.
Mercedes preps its own vehicles rather than outsourcing that function to a specialty company like AMPORTS In September, Jaguar signed a three-year contract to import its luxury vehicles through the port, where they are processed dockside by AMPORTS.
The Mercedes deal, the largest lease ever between an auto manufacturer and the port, is worth at least $61.6 million in lease and wharfage fees for the state, apart from $3.6 million in state and local taxes, according to the MPA announcement.
The Port of Baltimore is the second-largest handler of automobiles in the country. Last year 543,597 cars cycled through the port, an increase of 24 percent from 2002.