Adapting to Disruption: Bridge Collision and Its Ripple Effects on US East Coast Shipping

5Apr, 2024

In the wake of the recent maritime disaster when a Maersk-operated vessel collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, container lines are swiftly rerouting their services, causing a ripple effect throughout the US East Coast. Chris Rogers, head of supply chain research at S&P Global Market Intelligence, highlights that Maersk and MSC, major users of ports like Philadelphia, Norfolk, and Newark, are among those rerouting their services.


While Baltimore handles a significant portion of imports, particularly for non-seasonal goods, the impact on peak-season shipments may be limited due to the lower share of seasonal goods, such as toys, electronics, and apparel. S&P data shows these goods represent only a tiny fraction of Baltimore’s imports compared to other regional ports.


However, shippers across the US East Coast are bracing for delays and potential disruptions, even if they don’t directly import through Baltimore. Andres Ferro, CFO at Cannon Industries, anticipates congestion at other ports as cargo is rerouted, leading to delays and potentially increased rates.


The automotive supply chain faces particular challenges, with only one terminal remaining open in Baltimore to handle vehicles. This poses a significant setback for the industry, as major automotive companies often rely on alternative ports further south or north. Despite efforts to mitigate the impact, the incident underscores the interconnectedness of global supply chains and the potential cascading effects of disruptions in key transportation hubs. While Baltimore is almost entirely out of commission, one terminal is still working, and two channels, one for the vessels at the remaining terminal and another shallower, narrower channel to accommodate recovery vessels and crews. 


As container lines adapt their routes and shippers navigate the fallout, collaboration and contingency planning will be crucial to minimize disruptions and maintain the flow of goods along the East Coast. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities inherent in global trade and the importance of resilience in supply chain management.


Everglory Logistics is working hard to bring our clients the latest information and updates to ensure minimum disruption for cargo and operations.  Everglory offers our customized “Options Program” to the import community providing multiple routings per PO to choose from. In today’s unpredictable climate, having options can be an advantage.


Let us know if you can use more flexibility and choices in your supply chain.

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