Baltimore bridge collapse could cause significant supply chain disruption

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BALTIMORE : The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being struck by the 10,000 TEU container vessel Dali, deployed on 2M Alliance’s Far East – US East Coast service.

While Baltimore is not one of the largest US East Coast ports, it still imports and exports more than one million containers each year so there is the potential to cause significant disruption to supply chains, according to Emily Stausbøll, Market Analyst at Xeneta.

Stausbøll said, “The immediate focus is the rescue operation, but there will clearly be a highly-complex recovery phase and investigation to follow and we don’t know what impact this will have on operations at the Port of Baltimore.”

The analyst mentioned that the Panama Canal drought and the Red Sea crisis have already caused significant challenges to the Far East – US East Coast ocean freight network, in which rates have already increased by 150%.

“It is likely other larger US East Coast ports such as neighbouring New York/New Jersey and Virginia can handle additional container imports if Baltimore is inaccessible, which may limit any impact on ocean freight shipping rates,” noted Stausbøll.

She said, however, that there is only so much port capacity available and this will leave supply chains vulnerable to any further pressure.

“The question is how quickly ocean freight carriers can put diversions in place, particularly for vessels already en route to Baltimore or containers at the port waiting to be exported,” wonders Emily Stausbøll.

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