Logistics companies scramble after bridge collapse closes Port of Baltimore until further notice

Logistics companies up and down the East Coast were urgently relaying messages back and forth to clients Tuesday on the status of their imports and exports after the Port of Baltimore was shut down in response to the collapse of the city's Francis Scott Key Bridge. A massive rescue effort was underway Tuesday morning.

"Our first priority is engaging clients to make plans for containers that were originally routed to Baltimore that will be discharged at other ports on the Eastern Seaboard," explained Paul Brashier, vice president of drayage and intermodal for ITS Logistics.

"These diverted volumes will impact the ports of New York/New Jersey, Norfolk and the Southeast and we have to prepare trucking and transload capacity to get that freight to its intended network," Brashier said.

The 10,000 container-capacity vessel Dali was on its way out of the Port of Baltimore in the early hours Tuesday, heading to Colombo, Sri Lanka, when it collided with a bridge pillar. At the time of the collision, the vessel had two pilots from the Port of Baltimore on board.

"The immediate impact is with the cargo on board and its accessibility. Other planned shipments through Baltimore will likely be rerouted, potentially increasing cargo flow to New York, Norfolk, and nearby ports" said Goetz Alebrand, senior vice president and head of ocean freight for the Americas at DHL Global Forwarding. "Bulk and car carriers reliant on Baltimore must assess operations in the event of a prolonged closure."

More than 52 million tons of foreign cargo, worth some $80 billion were transported out of the port last year, according to Maryland Gov. Wes Moore. The 11th largest port in the nation, Baltimore served an average of 207 calls a month last year, according to the shipping journal Lloyd's List.


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