MPA Executive Director
James J. White
Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Port Administration
James J. White was appointed executive director of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) on August 1, 2007. In this role, Mr. White oversees the six public marine terminals at the Port of Baltimore. As executive director, Mr. White returned to a position he previously held from 1999 through 2005.
In 2010, Mr. White led an effort to execute a 50-year lease and concession agreement with Ports America Chesapeake to operate the Port of Baltimore’s Seagirt Marine Terminal. The landmark deal included the construction of a 50-foot deep container berth, four state-of-the-art supersized cranes, the creation of 5,700 new jobs, more than $15 million annually in new taxes, and a potential long term value of about $1.8 billion to Maryland. Under this agreement, the Port of Baltimore became one of only two U.S. East Coast ports able to handle the largest ships in the world and greatly enhanced its overall standing as a major container port.
Other key milestones achieved since Mr. White’s return as executive director include:
- Long-term contracts with many of the Port’s key cargo accounts, including its two largest container customers;
- A year-round cruising program;
- Six consecutive years of ‘outstanding’ port security reviews from the Coast Guard;
- Repeated recognition for the Port of Baltimore as the number one U.S. port for handling several different cargos;
- Several record-breaking years for specific cargos handled;
- A nationally renowned and award-winning dredging program that uses innovative strategies to be the largest creator of wetlands in Maryland;
- An internationally recognized environmental management program;
- A zoning law protecting thousands of deepwater acres surrounding Baltimore’s industrial waterfront from commercial development, maintaining good-paying, blue collar maritime jobs.
During Mr. White’s first term as executive director, he led the MPA and the Port of Baltimore to tremendous heights, establishing records in cargo volume and value. He was also successful in securing several long-term contracts that kept many good-paying jobs at the Port. Following the events of September 11, 2001, Mr. White oversaw the development of a security program that transitioned from a focus on preventing port-related crimes to preventing acts of terrorism.
After leaving the MPA in 2005, Mr. White served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for New Jersey-based Ceres Terminals, a stevedoring and terminal operations company with major port operations in North America.
Mr. White joined the MPA in 1993 as director of operations and executive vice president of Maryland International Terminals (MIT), the MPA’s private operating company that offers cargo-handling services to ocean carriers. From 1995 until his appointment as executive director in 1999, Mr. White served as MPA’s deputy executive director, director of operations and president of MIT. In his role as deputy executive director and director of operations, he was accountable for all day-to-day operations at the Port of Baltimore and directed lease negotiations with all Port customers. He acted as a liaison with ILA labor leadership and port customers to promote a cooperative partnership with all the Port’s clients.
Mr. White’s extensive maritime experience began with Puerto Rico Marine Management, Inc. (PRMMI) in 1975 and included subsequent work with Sea Train (1977 to 1982), where he was North Atlantic operations manager; and Concorde Nopal (1982 to 1985), where he served as vice president of operations. Before joining the MPA in 1993, Mr. White re-joined PRMMI and became that company’s general manager for North America. In that capacity, he was responsible for a budget of $123 million. He negotiated all stevedoring, terminal and port authority contracts and determined operating standards and procedures for North America.
Mr. White is a past president of the North Atlantic Ports Association. He is a graduate of Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Economics. He resides with his family in Stevensville, Maryland.