Executive Director

Jonathan Daniels

Mr. Jonathan Daniels​

Jonathan Daniels was named as executive director of the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) by Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld on December 20, 2023 following an extensive national recruitment process that included a high-level executive search committee and nationally recognized maritime executive search firm. Mr. Daniels came to Maryland after serving as chief executive officer and port director since 2020 at Port Everglades in Broward County, Florida and has more than 30 years of port and economic development experience.

As MPA executive director, Mr. Daniels oversees and manages the six state-owned, public marine terminals of the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. The marine terminals handle autos, breakbulk, containers, cruise, farm and construction equipment, and forest products.

Mr. Daniels led the Port of Baltimore’s recovery from the Key Bridge collapse. He coordinated with federal, state, and local elected officials as well as port customers, the International Longshoremen’s Association, and other stakeholders. Mr. Daniels is also leading the development of a new, 20-year master plan for the Port of Baltimore that will increase business and generate additional jobs.

The Port of Baltimore ranks first among the nation’s ports for autos and light truck volumes, roll on/roll off farm and construction machinery, and imported gypsum. With its 50-foot-deep channel and supersized Neo-Panamax container cranes, Baltimore is one of the top container ports in the nation and can handle some of the largest ships in the world. The Port of Baltimore also offers a year-round cruise schedule that includes sailings from the world’s top cruise lines. The MPA is the state’s leading creator of wetlands through its industry-renowned coastal restoration dredging program, while its Clean Diesel initiative is removing thousands of tons of emissions by upgrading dray trucks and cargo-handling equipment on the terminals.

The Port of Baltimore generates about 20,000 direct jobs, with about 273,000 jobs overall in Maryland linked to Port activities. It is responsible for nearly $3.3 billion in personal wages and salaries, $2.6 billion in business revenue and nearly $400 million in state and local tax revenue annually.

At Port Everglades, Mr. Daniels led a $3 billion plan to expand business lines in containers, energy, and cruise activity. Port Everglades is the 13th busiest container port in the U.S., the busiest energy port in Florida and the third busiest cruise homeport in the world. It has an annual economic impact of $33 billion and supports about 216,000 statewide jobs. Under Mr. Daniels’ leadership, Port Everglades was a maritime industry stalwart in environmental compliance.

During his tenure at Port Everglades, Mr. Daniels was a member of the Board of Directors for Space Florida and was chair of the Florida Ports Council, representing Florida’s 15 public seaports. He also served on the American Association of Port Authorities Board of Directors and was that organization’s U.S. South Atlantic ports representative. Mr. Daniels served as a board member of Green Marine, a voluntary environmental certification program that guides the North American maritime industry towards environmental excellence. He was also a board member of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and an active member of the Alliance Partner Council.

Prior to working at Port Everglades, Mr. Daniels was executive director and CEO for the Mississippi State Port Authority from 2013 to 2020. He oversaw a $570 million expansion and reconstruction project and created a business development program that allowed the Port Authority to successfully fulfill a federal job creation mandate to generate at least 1,300 new jobs.

Before arriving in Mississippi, Mr. Daniels served as executive director of the Port of Oswego in New York and managing director for the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana and as port director of the Eastport Port Authority in Maine.

Mr. Daniels is a strong proponent of economic and community development having served as the chief executive officer of the Eastern Maine Development Corporation. He also served as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Community Development Advisory Committee.

Mr. Daniels earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science – International Politics and Foreign Affairs from The Citadel, in Charleston, South Carolina, and continued his education at the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine. ​

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