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IPFS News Link • Supply Chain Disruption

Baltimore Bridge Collapse May Cost Billions, Dramatically Disrupt Supply Chains

•, by Tyler Durden

The Singapore-flagged MV Dali container ship collided with the bridge around 1:35 a.m. on Tuesday. At least six people remain unaccounted for, CNN reports. With rescue and recovery operations ongoing, it's unclear how long debris from the bridge will block the Patapsco River, which leads to the Port of Baltimore.

For the shipping community, the accident will affect maritime lanes as carriers must seek alternative ports of call while the collapsed bridge continues to block the river, experts said.

"Are any container vessels currently trapped in the bay? That is question No. 1," Sanne Manders, president of international at Flexport, told FreightWaves. "Right now, there are two vessels trapped: the ship that caused the collision and another general cargo container vessel that is currently trapped."

The Port of Baltimore is the deepest harbor in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, with five public and 12 private terminals. The port administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Port officials posted on social media that they do not know how long ship traffic in and out of the port will be suspended, although trucks are still being processed.

Manders said another important consideration is the scores of commercial vessels that regularly call at the Port of Baltimore.

"In the next few weeks, 107 vessels will not be able to call that port and will have to divert to other ports," Manders said. "The question is, are other ports able to absorb that capacity? The reality is that Baltimore is an important port, but for containerized trade, it is relatively small."

In 2023, the Port of Baltimore handled $80.8 billion in trade, including 1.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units, 1.3 million tons of roll-on/roll-off farm and construction machinery, 11.7 million tons of general cargo, and 847,158 shipments of cars and light trucks.

A number of major companies have distribution warehouses and other facilities at or near the port, including Amazon, FedEx and BMW.

In Maryland, most of the freight is regional, with about 36% of trucking tender volume staying in the state. An additional 22% goes to Pennsylvania and 15% goes to Virginia.