How the Key Bridge Collapse Affects Shipping

Map of Washington DC

How is the Key Bridge collapse affecting trucking and shipping? We take a look here.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, the outermost bridge of the Baltimore Harbor into the Patapsco River from the Chesapeake Bay, had stood for nearly 50 years, having opened to the public in 1977. As part of the daily commute for thousands of Baltimore and nearby residents, it has a massive impact not only on the local area but also on the nation and international economy. This is just a brief look at how the Key Bridge collapse affects shipping, in particular.

The Key Bridge Collapse of Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The Key Bridge, not to be confused with the Key Bridge that crosses the Potomac River, collapsed just before 1:30 AM on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. The cargo ship called Dali crashed into one of the supporting posts when exiting the port on its way to Sri Lanka. Reportedly, the ship alerted of a problem and dropped anchor. The ship’s power failed and returned, but not in time for the ship to change direction, and the crew sent a mayday call. Black smoke arose from the ship before the impact. 

Thankfully, no vehicles were driving over the bridge at that time. Tragically, eight construction workers were filling potholes on the bridge; as of March 28, 2024, two survived, two deceased were found, and four remain to be found but are presumed dead.

The Importance of the Baltimore Port

The Baltimore port is the ninth busiest in the nation and the biggest port for the nation’s automotive industry, importing and exporting personal vehicles, construction, and farm vehicles. It is also the world’s second-largest exporter of coal, next to India. Warehouses for Home Depot, Amazon, UnderArmor, and others are located near the port. The Baltimore port is also known for transporting sugar and hazardous materials like diesel. Japan, Germany, and Mexico are the three countries with the most imports to Baltimore harbor and a major point for the East Coast and Midwest.

How the Key Bridge Collapse Affects Shipping

The Key Bridge collapse has trapped about ten ships in the port and caused others to reroute traffic to Virginia and other East Coast ports. Some terminals were still in operation. BMW’s terminal was unaffected by the bridge collapse. Effectively, the longer the bridge remains in the water, the more millions the port will lose every day, but cleaning is just beginning. The automotive, energy, and agriculture industries feel the effects of delayed shipments but are rerouting to the next best options. The prior experience of bottlenecked ports from the last few years will help with navigating the situation. Evan Transportation is happy to assist with your international shipment in Baltimore.

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