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IPFS News Link • Supply Chain Disruption

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Has East Coast Ports On Alert For Cargo Diversions

•, by Tyler Durden

He said it's important "to our national supply chains to get that port back up and running as quickly as possible."

In the meantime, Bloomberg shipping data shows 29 bulk cargo, container, and vehicle carriers were anchored outside ten major US ports up and down the East Coast on Saturday, compared with an average of 18. Given that there is yet to be a timeline for when the Port of Baltimore will reopen, companies are scrambling to divert cargo to other ports. 

On Monday morning, Port of Virginia, just south of Baltimore and at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay near Norfolk, will open one hour early (0500 ET) to ramp up more trucking capacity as diverted cargo from Baltimore is offloaded. Bloomberg noted that a major railroad had expanded its services. 

Sanne Manders, president of international operations at digital freight platform Flexport, said other East Coast ports "can easily absorb the immediate aftermath on containerized trade." 

Manders said that even though the port will reopen once salvage crews clear the shipping lane of debris, there will be "severe" consequences for the Port of Baltimore because the bridge once served as a critical "feeder into the port." 

"The longer-term aftermath will probably be more severe, because even if you take away the debris from the port, that is an extremely important bridge as a feeder into the port, and traffic will have to reroute a long, long way."

According to an analysis from the International Monetary Fund's PortWatch platform, Norfolk, New York, and Charleston, South Carolina, are the ports most likely to absorb cargo. 

While East Coast ports will easily absorb diverted cargo from Baltimore, Governor Wes Moore warned the port closure will have severe ripple effects across the city, surrounding counties, the state, Mid-Atlantic, and even the eastern half of the US: 

"This port is one of the busiest inside the country, so this will impact the farmer in Kentucky, and the auto dealer in Ohio and the restaurant owner in Tennessee."