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Economic Consequences of Baltimore Bridge Collapse Will Be Long Lasting

Mar 27, 2024
In the immediate aftermath of a container ship striking and destroying a major bridge adjacent to the Port of Baltimore, local and national officials stated that the loss of life could easily have been much greater.

In the immediate aftermath of a container ship striking and destroying a major bridge adjacent to the Port of Baltimore, local and national officials stated that the loss of life could easily have been much greater. 

But the longer term economic consequences pose a big threat. 

"Logistics companies up and down the East Coast were urgently relaying messages back and forth to clients Tuesday on the status of their imports and exports after the Port of Baltimore was shut down in response to the collapse of the city’s Francis Scott Key Bridge,” according to CNBC.

“The immediate impact is with the cargo on board and its accessibility. Other planned shipments through Baltimore will likely be rerouted, potentially increasing cargo flow to New York, Norfolk, and nearby ports,” said Goetz Alebrand, senior vice president and head of ocean freight for the Americas at DHL Global Forwarding. “Bulk and car carriers reliant on Baltimore must assess operations in the event of a prolonged closure.”

More than 52 million tons of foreign cargo, worth some $80 billion were transported out of the port last year, according to Maryland Gov. Wes Moore. The 11th largest port in the nation, Baltimore served an average of 207 calls a month last year, according to the shipping journal Lloyd’s List, reported CNBC. The Port of Baltimore is the top American port for the import and export of autos and light trucks, as well as wheeled farm vehicles and construction machinery.

Any attempt to rebuild a bridge as long as the Francis Scott Key, which is 1.6 miles, would probably also be a multiyear effort, said Benjamin W. Schafer, a professor of engineering at Johns Hopkins, reported the New York Times

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David Harrison