Analysis on Port of Baltimore Situation

Mar 28, 2024 | Uncategorized

Analysis on Port of Baltimore Situation

Various supply chain services providers are weighing in on the supply chain impact stemming from the collapse of the 1.6-mile Francis Scott Key bridge over the Patapsco River in Baltimore caused by a collision into the bridge from the 32,000-ton container ship, Dali, present a difficult situation, as supply chain stakeholders assess the next steps they need to take, in order to keep cargo moving.

Chicago-based supply chain visibility services provider project44 noted that in addition to the Dali, there are also three other container vessels currently moored in the Port of Baltimore, with the Dali remaining stuck under the bridge and the three moored vessels unlikely to be able to leave the port until the area is cleared and the investigation is resolved.

“At this time, at least 10 commercial vessels en route to Baltimore are anchored while traffic is suspended,” the company said. “The anchored vessels will likely divert to nearby ports in New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina. project44 is closely monitoring these ports for operational interruptions due to the additional volume and will update this report as new data becomes available.”

With the Port of Baltimore serving as the top United States-based handler for automobile imports and export—handling freight from automakers such as Nissan, Toyota, General Motors, and Volvo, among others, project44 said that disruptions to automobile manufacturing are expected to continue until companies are able to establish dray networks in neighboring ports. And it added that with the sector being “notoriously lean,” any types of disruptions will have ripple effects throughout the manufacturing process.

As the Port of Baltimore is one of the top 15 largest ports in the U.S. and having handled more than $80 billion in freight in 2023, project 44 explained that freight initially headed for the Port of Baltimore will likely have to bypass the port until the area is cleared.

“Generally, vessels that call at the Port of Baltimore also continue to call at ports up and down the East Coast of the United States,” the company said. “It is likely that these containers will be discharged at the nearest port. Customers will likely have the option to choose to dray containers from the port of discharge to their final locations or the ocean carriers will be responsible for getting these containers to the Port of Baltimore for customers to pick up at the planned location.”

From a trucking perspective, project44 noted that this situation will bring about what it called a general increase in transit time for truckloads in the area, given that the Key Bridge is a part of a major highway in the Baltimore area, and with the closure, routes will be less direct and more congested.

Data issued by San Marcos, Calif.-based lobal supply chain insights and risk analytics company Everstream Analytics, in an analysis of vessel scheduled of container ships, bulk carriers, and vehicle carriers expected to call on the Port of Baltimore over the next five days found that the majority of container ships have already diverted to New York, Norfolk, or Philadelphia, or stayed in those ports to unload cargo initially headed to Baltimore.

“The majority of bulk and vehicle carriers still hasn’t been re-routed or will continue to call at accessible vehicle handling terminals in Baltimore,” said Miro Woitzik, Global Director of Intelligence, for Everstream Analytics. “It’s likely that with additional vessels arriving at these ports without a booked slot, this will cause constraints on labor, equipment handlings as well as trucking availability. This is especially the case for vehicles that need specialist equipment and dockworkers to handle the cars.”

For container vessels that were scheduled to arrive at the Port of Baltimore now re-routing to alternative ports, Everstream Analytics reported the following: four at the Port of New York and New Jersey; three at the Port of Norfolk; one at the Port of Philadelphia; and one unconfirmed.

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