MPA SEEKS BIDS FROM PRIVATE STEVEDORES FOR OPERATION OF SEAGIRT MARINE TERMINAL

MPA SEEKS BIDS FROM PRIVATE STEVEDORES FOR OPERATION OF SEAGIRT MARINE TERMINAL

The Maryland Port Administration is seeking bids from private stevedores by April 27 on a contract to operate the Port of Baltimore's $250 million Seagirt Marine Terminal, but a glitch has arisen in the process.

The problem began with the port agency's solicitation package, which says companies directly involved in steamship line operations will not be considered.The idea was to protect carriers' sensitive cargo information from falling into the hands of a competitor. The contractor that operates the high- technology intermodal container facility also would operate the sophisticated computer systems that contain the records of all the cargo moving through the terminal.

But officials at Maersk Container Service Co., which handles stevedoring for Maersk Line - the largest line at the port - want a chance to bid on the Seagirt contract.

They hope an understanding can be reached so that Maersk Container Service and another subsidiary, Universal Maritime Service Corp., will be allowed to bid.

Brendan W. O'Malley, executive director of the port administration, indicated he might lift the ban if Maersk can show that the line and the stevedoring subsidiary would act independently.

He said he would prefer "more bidders rather than fewer."