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The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) and France's Port of Calais recently forged a formal cooperation agreement aimed at increasing maritime business opportunities.The pact will enable the Port of Baltimore and French port to undertake joint marketing efforts to generate new shipping business, share data that could be helpful in forecasting trade flows and exchange training program information.The partners believe there are cooperation opportunities concerning commodities both have in common, such as roll on/roll off equipment and autos, officials said in a press release."We look forward to utilizing this agreement as a way to generate new cargo opportunities and to share best practices with the Port of Calais," said MPA Director of Marketing Richard Powers.The MPA has similar agreements with other international ports in Africa, Egypt, Estonia, Italy, India, Japan and Poland.The Port of Baltimore is ranked as the top U.S. port for handling autos, farm and construction machinery, and imported forest products, sugar, aluminum and gypsum. The port is ranked second for exported coal and imported iron ore. Meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley recently announced that the port's public marine terminals have received an "excellent" security assessment from the U.S. Coast Guard for the sixth consecutive year.The MPA has implemented many security improvements during the past six years, including new security cameras, access gate barriers and waterside intrusion detection devices; an access control center; real-time video surveillance systems; a truck entry system; and enhanced perimeter fencing and radiation portal monitors for containers.The improvements have advanced the goal of making the port one of the most secure seaports in the nation, said O'Malley in a prepared statement.