BALTIMORE -- Six shipping lines have made commitments to ship through the port of Baltimore, Gov. William Donald Schaefer and port officials have announced.

Miles Maguire, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration, called the new business "significant," and said last week that the new service either has started recently or will begin soon for the six lines.

He said the new business is part of the port's plan to increase by 50 percent its general cargo tonnage in the next five years.

"These shipping lines will help Baltimore remain a world class port for all types of cargo," said Maryland Port Administrator David A. Wagner, in a statement.

The new lines are:

Top Gallant Line, which is starting a container cargo service between Baltimore and northern Europe every two weeks.

Columbus Line, which is starting container, break-bulk and refrigerated cargo service between Baltimore and South America-Australia every two weeks.

Marimed State Line, which is beginning monthly container and break-bulk cargo service between Baltimore and western Africa.

Naviera Neptuno Line, beginning container and break-bulk cargo service between Baltimore and Peru

Reefer Express Line, to begin cargo service for wheeled and tracked vehicles between Baltimore and Japan every two weeks.

Van Ommeren Line, will offer monthly break-bulk cargo service between Baltimore and Belgium.

Baltimore's total steamship service includes more than 100 shipping lines.