Baltimore bridge collapse could cause supply chain disruption, says Xeneta


Supply chain disruption can be expected after the collapse of the Baltimore bridge, however, neighbouring New York/New Jersey and Virginia can handle additional container imports if Baltimore remains inaccessible.

Baltimore bridge collapse could cause supply chain disruption
Port of Baltimore

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is expected to result in significant disruption to supply chains.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge is the outermost bridge in the approach to the Port of Baltimore and the most important terminals, including SeaGirt Container Terminal, Dundalk Terminal and the ro-ro/car terminal are upstream of it.

As reported earlier today, Dali, a 9,962 TEU containership, operating on a 2M alliance service between Baltimore and the Far East, struck the support beam of the bridge, causing the bridge to break and fall into the water.

The bridge has since been closed at both ends and traffic detoured.

Vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice, the port said.

“This does not mean that the Port of Baltimore is shut down. We are still processing trucks inside of our terminals,” the port authority pointed out.

The containership, owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd and managed by Synergy Marine Group, was en route from Baltimore to Colombo, its estimated time of arrival being April 22, 2024.

According to Synergy Marine, all crew members and the two pilots have been accounted for and there were no reports of injuries.

“While Baltimore is not one of the largest US East Coast ports, it still imports and exports more than one million containers each year,” said Emily Stausbøll, Market Analyst at Xeneta – the ocean freight shipping rate benchmarking and intelligence platform, said.

“Far East to US East Coast ocean freight services have already been impacted by drought in the Panama Canal and recent conflict in the Red Sea, which saw rates increase by 150%, so this latest incident will add to those concerns,” Stausbøll added.

“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. However, 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.”

Maersk has confirmed in a statement to WorldCargo News that the containership that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday morning, causing it to collapse, was indeed time-chartered by the company.

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