Port of New York and New Jersey ready to absorb additional cargo from Baltimore


Amid the aftermath of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is prepared to mitigate supply chain disruptions by absorbing additional cargo.

In the wake of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stands poised to alleviate supply chain disruptions by absorbing additional cargo.

All vessel traffic to and from the Port of Baltimore has been suspended until further notice due to the blockage of the Fort McHenry Channel by the containership Dali, which struck the bridge, resulting in its tragic collapse.

With a portion of the bridge still lodged on the containership obstructing the waterway, authorities have initiated a massive operation to commence debris removal and dismantle the colossal truss structure, aiming to facilitate at least one-way traffic into the harbor.

First salvage step is to open one-way traffic to Baltimore harbor, USACE says

The Port of Baltimore plays a pivotal role in the nation’s trade operations, having handled a record-breaking 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo in 2023, valued at $80 billion. It stands as the leading port in the United States for the handling of automobiles and agricultural equipment.

However, other major East Coast ports like neighboring New York/New Jersey and Virginia are well-positioned to accommodate additional container imports in the event of Baltimore’s inaccessibility, potentially mitigating any impact on ocean freight shipping rates.

“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey can take on additional cargo, and we have directed the Authority to further evaluate all available resources to minimize supply chain disruptions. Along with our federal partners, we will continue to work together to support our neighbors in Baltimore and consumers nationwide,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a joint statement.

WorldCargo News has reached out to the port authority for a comment on the matter and will update this article once a reply is issued.

The Port of New York and New Jersey is recognized as the largest port on the East Coast and the third largest in the nation. Boasting six terminals and public berths, the port handles a diverse range of cargo, including containers, roll-on roll-off cargo (Ro-Ro), bulk commodities, break bulk items, and specialized project cargo.

The Port of New York and New Jersey handled 7.8 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) over 2023. This was a 4.4 percent increase from pre-pandemic 2019. The seaport was the second-busiest in the nation for loaded imports and exports, handling 5.3 million loaded TEUs throughout the year.

“In the last quarter of 2023, around 260,000 standard containers were loaded and unloaded at the port of Baltimore. This volume can be diverted to the neighboring ports, e.g. New York and Norfolk. For these ports, this means around 10 percent higher volumes, the harbors should have this capacity,” Patrick Lepperhoff, Principal at INVERTO, part of Boston Consulting Group, said in a comment.

“The port of Baltimore is important for the import and export of cars and agricultural vehicles as well as machinery and aircraft parts.”

“Major American retail and DIY chains also have large warehouses on the port site and their goods are distributed throughout the USA.”

“The Port of Baltimore also ships coal and gas, gypsum, soybeans and sugar. In 2022, Germany imported soybeans worth around 2.5 billion euros, while it exported sugar and sugar products to the USA for 322 million euros.”

According to Lepperhoff, the blockade of the Port of Baltimore is expected to have little impact on trade between the USA and Europe.

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