Some of the flashiest luxury cars will soon start coming into Sparrows Point at the Port of Baltimore. Volkswagen America will start importing and distributing factory-new Bentley, Lamborghini, Audi, and VWs at the Tradepoint Atlantic terminal.
Tradepoint Atlantic, the Port of Baltimore’s largest private terminal, will build a new 115-acre facility to import and process 120,000 Volkswagen Group of America vehicles per year, with plans for more growth. Tradepoint Atlantic is expected to add about 100 new full-time jobs at the site, and support further trucking, rail, vessel-unloading, and piloting business. The imported vehicles will come from European and Mexican factories. The new facility is expected to be finished in early 2020, with a significant investment from Volkswagen Group.
“The mid-Atlantic region has long been a strong market for Volkswagen Group of America and we are pleased to announce the launch of our seventh and newest vehicle processing operation in the U.S.,” said Anu Goel, Executive Vice President for Group After Sales & Services, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
Local and state leaders applaud the addition:
“The Port of Baltimore has earned its reputation as a vital gateway to markets in the U.S. and around the globe, and this long-term commitment from another major automaker is further proof that Maryland is open for business,” said Governor Larry Hogan.
But there may be another big motivation for the automaker to open up shop at the port: under the terms of Volkswagen’s settlement with Maryland over its massive emissions-cheating scandal, the company was required to enter into a five-year contract with a Maryland auto terminal— or face a $4.5 million fine. VW must already pay the state a $29 million civil penalty. It’s the largest ever for a pollution case in Maryland.
Tradepoint Atlantic offers deep-water berths, as well as direct rail and highway access. The Port of Baltimore leads the nation in auto shipping. The Port transported 803,999 vehicles in 2017— more than any other U.S. port for the seventh year in a row.
-Meg Walburn Viviano