Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, consists of seaport facilities for cargo, especially roll-on/roll-off ships, and passengers operated by the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), a unit of the Maryland Department of Transportation. In 1608, Captain John Smith traveled 170 miles from Jamestown to the upper Chesapeake Bay, leading the first European expedition to the Patapsco River, named after the native Algonquians who fished shellfish and hunted. English land Grants 1661 were combined 1702 by James Carroll who named it Whetstone Point (now known as Locust Point). The port was founded on this site in 1706 by the Maryland Colonial Assembly as a Port of Entry for the tobacco trade with England. In 1729 The Point was incorporated into Baltimore. Starting in 1776 local citizenry erected earthworks named Fort Whetstone for port defense during the American Revolutionary War, which was replaced in 1798 by Fort McHenry.
Fells Point, first named Long Island Point in 1670, the deepest point in the natural Harbor, soon became The Colony's main ship building Center, with Many shipyards, famed for the construction of Baltimore clippers. These were notorious as raiders and privateers, which led to the British attack in 1814 in the Battle of Baltimore, with the famous bombardment of Fort McHenry. Fells Point was incorporated into Baltimore in 1773. The Continental Navy ordered their first frigate, USS Virginia, from George Wells in Fells Point in 1775. The first ship named the USS Constellation were produced at Harris Creek Shipyard here, and the third USS Enterprise at Henry Spencer's shipyard. Over 800 ships were commissioned from Fells Point shipyards from 1784 to 1821. The California Gold Rush lead to many orders for fast vessels; many Overland pioneers also relied upon canned goods from Baltimore.
Currently the port has major roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) facilities, as well as bulk facilities, especially steel handling. Most Mercedes-Benz cars that are imported into the U.S are handled here as well. During 2008, 33 million tons in foreign Commerce (imports and exports), valued at $45.3 billion were handled by the port. This was a 7.3% increase in tonnage over 2007, when 30.8 million tons of foreign commerce, valued at $41.9 billion, flowed through the port. The Port of Baltimore ranked 14th of 30 USA ports, handling 2.2% of the 1.5 billion tons in foreign tonnage managed by USA ports during 2008. Water taxis also operate in the Inner Harbor. Governor Ehrlich participated in naming the port after Helen Delich Bentley during the 300th anniversary of the port.