ITO GETS NOD TO OPERATE BALTIMORE'S SEAGIRT FACILITY

ITO GETS NOD TO OPERATE BALTIMORE'S SEAGIRT FACILITY

I.T.O. Corp. of Baltimore is the Maryland Port Commission's choice to run the day-to-day operations of Baltimore's Seagirt Marine Terminal.

Under the three-year contract, the subsidiary of New York-based International Terminal Operating Co. will provide equipment and labor at the $250 million high-technology container facility.The terminal is almost a year behind its scheduled opening because of construction delays and uncertain labor conditions that recently plagued the port. But officials now say it is completed and will open soon.

Earlier this month Mediterranean Shipping Co. signed a six-year lease as Seagirt's first tenant.

Monetary terms of the ITO contract were not disclosed.

J.C. Shay, Maryland Port Administration spokesman, explained that until the port and the International Longshoremen's Association negotiate a labor agreement for the facility, an estimate on the value of the contract is not available.

A recently formed non-profit state subsidiary, Maryland International Terminals, and ITO will conclude negotiations with local ILA representatives to finalize the labor agreement.

The state subsidiary was created this year after enactment of state legislation designed to give the port more control over costs at its terminals. The legislation was an offshoot of a bitter dispute over labor costs last year that culminated in a three-day port-wide work stoppage early in January.

While ITO will oversee operations at Seagirt, Maryland International Terminals will have authority to set rates and operate the terminal directly.