The Port of Baltimore announced Thursday that it has signed a six-year contract extension with its largest shipping company.

The contract, signed with Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., will retain 628 jobs at the port and contribute $14 million to state and local taxes. The port contributes about $388 million annually to Maryland state and local taxes.

“Maryland is proud to be signing the third long-term contract in a year when many ports are facing much harder times,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley, who joined officials from the Maryland Port Administration and the company at the signing. The port signed 10-year contracts last year with a Finnish paper company and a Taiwan-based container shipping company.

The extension of the contract requires Mediterranean Shipping Co. to bring a minimum of 100,000 containers annually to the port — three times the amount the original contract required. In 2008, the company brought more than 136,000 containers through the port. It began shipping to Baltimore in 1988.

Baltimore’s port is number one in the country for trucks and timber products. It is ranked 14th for total foreign cargo tonnage and 12th for total dollar value of cargo.

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