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Port of Baltimore Emergency Business Assistance Program

The Port of Baltimore Emergency Business Fund is a funding resource operated by the Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce) to support temporary economic and financial relief for eligible businesses impacted by the disruption of operations to the Port of Baltimore. To be eligible for assistance from the fund, eligible businesses must demonstrate economic and financial injury incurred after March 26, 2024 and resulting from the disruption to the operations to the Port of Baltimore through:

  • Reduction in business revenue and activity; or
  • Increased costs to business operations

The application portal is currently open. Recipients of grants through this program shall attest to their intent to continue operations at the Port of Baltimore, to the fullest extent practicable, upon the resumption of full operations at the Port of Baltimore.

BENEFITS

  • Grants of up to $100,000 per business may be awarded to offset the loss of revenue or increased costs resulting from the reduced operations at the Port of Baltimore. 
  • Grant funds may be used for general operating expenses, including but not limited to rent, utilities, maintenance, fuel, supplies, insurance premiums, employee payroll and loan repayments (principal and interest), except for certain exclusions.

ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible, a business must demonstrate among the following:

  • That their operations or shipments are primarily reliant on the use of or access to the Port of Baltimore; 
  • That their business operations or shipments have been hindered or halted entirely due to the reduced operations of the Port of Baltimore; 
  • That their principal business operations are located in the State or they will use any program funds for their operations within the State; and
  • That the business has at least 2 full-time equivalent W-2 employees, but fewer than 500 full-time or equivalent workers in Maryland. 

Recipients of grants through this program shall attest:

  • To their intent to continue operations at the Port of Baltimore, to the fullest extent practicable, upon the resumption of full operations at the Port of Baltimore.
  • That their business operations relying on port activity are located in the State and that they will use any relief received through the program for their operations within the State.
  • That the business has suffered economic and financial injury from the disruption to the operations to the Port of Baltimore through:
        • reduction in business revenue; or
        • increased costs to business operations.

Restrictions


Ineligible uses of funds: Grant funds may not be used for the repayment of any other government disaster relief assistance, including SBA EIDL loan payments and payments on disaster loans received from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. 
 
Grant funds received from Commerce may not be used to pay for the same costs that are paid for by funds received from other state and federal programs.

A business cannot use both state funds and other sources of assistance - such as insurance claims or SBA EIDL funds - to cover the same costs.   

A grant recipient shall reimburse Commerce for monetary assistance received under the program within 6 months after the receipt of proceeds from an insurance claim or other funds that cover the same costs covered under the program grant award.

APPLYING

To apply, register for a SmartSimple account. Once you register, you will receive a link to set up your account password via email. After you have logged in to SmartSimple, go to "Opportunities" and select "Port of Baltimore Emergency Business Assistance Program" to open an application form.

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Note that Commerce may occasionally halt acceptance of applications to assess if needs are being adequately addressed by the Program. Commerce may alter eligibility requirements, available grant amounts for an applicant, and application procedures to better deploy available resources as the State continues to determine the best ways to address the challenges posed by disruption to the operations of the Port of Baltimore.

Grant funds will be awarded on a first-come first-serve basis. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Applicants should be prepared with the following information prior to entering the application portal.  

  • Must provide evidence of Good Standing with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT).  A screenshot displaying the Good Standing status will suffice.  Sole proprietors would provide evidence of registration with SDAT.  A business entity should verify its status with SDAT at the Maryland Business Express link.
  • Completed W-9 form.  Please download from the following W-9 link.
Information completed by the Applicant on the W-9 must match the Request for Disbursement, which will be sent by Commerce if the Grant request is approved.  
*Unless the business is a Single Member LLC or a Sole Proprietor, the Registered Business Name should appear on Line 1 of the W-9.  Single Member LLC’s and Sole Proprietors, your personal name should appear on Line 1 and your “Doing Business As Name'' should appear on Line 2.  
  • Filed U.S. Corporate or Partnership Federal Tax Return for 2023 including all Schedules and Attachments (or most recently available).

  • A narrative describing how the bridge collapse has affected their operations, including specific challenges faced and the amount of assistance requested.

  • To support the amount requested, the business must provide a brief narrative and include supporting written documentation demonstrating either increased costs or decreased net revenue. Examples of documentation may include, but not limited to: 

        • Invoices, cease work orders, work logs, job status reports, mileage reports, Profit & Loss statements, Balance Sheets, A/R and A/P Aging Reports, Project Backlogs, Work In Progress (WIP) Reports, etc.
        • Time frame for comparison reports may be, month over month comparison, i.e., 03/01/2024-03/22/2024 compared to 04/01/2024-04/22/2024 or comparing the current period to the same time period last quarter or last year.  
        • The business may also show current increased costs and/or decreased revenue from period to date, while including forecasted or projected increased costs and/or decreased revenue within reason.  Documentation must be provided demonstrating projected or forecasted increased costs or loss of revenue.   
  • Business insurance (and related deductibles) in place.

  • The status and amount of other state (Labor, DHCD) and federal (SBA-EIDL) program disaster assistance applications.

  • Individual awards may be reduced from what is requested at the discretion of Commerce, including as a response to excess funding demand.

  • Commerce may conduct site visits, interviews, or audits to verify the information provided and ensure compliance with program guidelines.  The grantee may be responsible for follow-up reporting describing how the funds were used to assist their operations or workforce, description of employment retention or layoffs if occurred and reporting of insurance payouts or funding for duplicate purposes from other assistance programs.

CONTACT

Questions about the Port of Baltimore Emergency Business Fund should be directed to fsk.commerce@maryland.gov.  A member of the Commerce team will respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.

Resources:


ADDITIONAL STATE PROGRAMS 

The Port Act established additional programs to assist impacted businesses and workers. See available programs from other Maryland agencies:  

Department of Labor's Port of Baltimore Worker Retention Program
$12.5 million is authorized to provide grants of up to $200,000 to eligible businesses to avoid employee layoffs. Eligible businesses must have a demonstrated loss of revenue or increase in operating costs due to the Key Bridge collapse and are at risk of layoffs.

Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD)
The Neighborhood BusinessWorks Program will provide up to $15 million for grants and loans to eligible businesses (500 or fewer employees) that have been impacted by a loss of revenue or an increase to costs due to the Key Bridge collapse.