The blockade of the Port of Baltimore will have a significant impact on the US economy.

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The blockade of the port of Baltimore (USA), caused by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge this Tuesday due to the impact of a container ship, will have serious economic consequences.

Baltimore is one of the most important US ports in the Atlantic. With a cargo turnover of 80,000 million dollars in 2023, it is the fastest route to the Midwest of the country and also the most important for car transport.

In a statement, the Port Authority said that “vessel traffic to or from the Port of Baltimore has been suspended until further notice,” but added that its facilities are continuing to handle trucks at the terminals. The city has now declared a state of emergency.

Traffic disruption since the Deli freighter accident

The disruption to traffic since the deli freighter collided with one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday and collapsed several pieces of infrastructure is already causing logistical problems across much of the country.

Currently, dozens of ships en route to Baltimore have had to anchor in the Chesapake Bay or divert to other ports.

Maritime traffic data shows clusters of ships in nearby ports such as Annapolis, where at least 12 ships appeared to be anchored nearby.

However, the alternatives are sometimes limited.

The Port of Baltimore, one of three on the East Coast of the United States where mega container ships can dock

The port, the sixteenth largest in the United States, is just one of three on the American East Coast capable of docking the world’s largest freighters, and has five public and twelve private terminals dedicated to, among other things, the transport of coal, containers and Dedicated to steel, pulp and automobiles.

In 2023, a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo valued at $80 billion passed through the Port of Baltimore, up 7.6% from 2022.

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In addition, 847,158 vehicles were transported from its facilities in 2023, making it the country’s top year for this type of product for the thirteenth consecutive year.

John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (which brings together major automakers), said in a statement that while it was too early to assess the impact of the accident, “it will certainly cause problems.”

Baltimore, the principal automobile port in the United States

“Baltimore is the largest auto port in the United States and we are in contact with federal officials to help them understand the size of the auto operations there,” Bozzella added.

Stellantis, one of the car manufacturers using the port, said in a statement that it is starting to develop contingency plans to ensure the movement of its vehicles.

Other manufacturers such as GM and Toyota expressed similar sentiments, but added that they expect the impact to be minimal.

1.1 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers also moved through Baltimore last year, surpassing the record of 1 million set in 2019 before the pandemic.

And because of its location as the main access route to the country’s Midwest, it is considered the premier port for transporting heavy machinery for agricultural and construction work in the United States.

More than 15,000 direct jobs and 140,000 indirect jobs

On the other hand, the port employs 15,300 people, but almost another 140,000 depend on its operations, which is why the president of the local longshoremen’s union, Scott Cowan, told The Baltimore Sun that the cessation of maritime traffic would be “catastrophic.” “

Additionally, the collapsed bridge was part of Interstate 695, an important corridor for freight and passenger traffic.

Maryland state officials have warned that trucks carrying dangerous goods will not be allowed to use major alternate routes and will have to detour west of Baltimore.

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