Baltimore Bridge Collapse Is ‘National Economic Catastrophe’ as Key Supply Route Remains Blocked, Says Maryland Gov. Moore

By Trisha Andrada

Apr 01, 2024 02:51 AM EDT

TOPSHOT - In this aerial image, the steel frame of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sits on top of a container ship after the bridge collapsed, Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26, 2024. The bridge collapsed early March 26 after being struck by the Singapore-flagged Dali container ship, sending multiple vehicles and people plunging into the frigid harbor below. There was no immediate confirmation of the cause of the disaster, but Baltimore's Police Commissioner Richard Worley said there was "no indication" of terrorism.
(Photo : Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Baltimore officials announced on Sunday, March 31, that a vital shipping route for certain commodities would remain obstructed for the time being after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge last week.

This tragedy is expected to have a significant impact on the United States economy.

Baltimore Bridge Collapse's Severe Economic Implications

The wreckage has closed a key passage that provides access to the Port of Baltimore, which Maryland Gov. Wes Moore characterized as one of the nation's busiest and most active docks.

State statistics show the Port of Baltimore handled a record 1.1 million containers in 2023. That makes it the ninth-busiest port in the US by trade volume, said supply-chain logistics firm Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen.

Additionally, it surpassed all other ports in 2023 with about 850,000 shipments of vehicles and light trucks, continuing a 13-year streak.

Moore said in an interview on CNN's State of the Union, "This is not [just] a Baltimore catastrophe, not a Maryland catastrophe. This is a national economic catastrophe as well."

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who spoke on CBS's Face the Nation, agreed with Moore's sentiments. He said that the rapid reopening of the port is crucial to the nation's supply networks as well as the residents and employees of Baltimore.

READ NEXT: Baltimore Bridge Ship Crash Shuts Down Port, Disrupts Shipments: Will Consumer Goods Prices Surge?

Despite Complexity and Delayed Pace, Construction Continues

Following a mayday call just before the accident, a huge cargo ship slammed into the bridge last Tuesday, March 26, causing it to collapse. Out of the six construction workers, two have passed away, and four are still missing, with the assumption that they are all dead.

On Saturday, March 30, work started to remove the ship, clean the waterway of debris, and reopen it.

"There is a 1,000-ton-capacity lift crane on a barge being put into place now," Buttigieg said, adding that construction is already underway on portions of the non-federal canal. He also said that another 600-ton crane is on its way.

Buttigieg said that a completion date for the salvage operation is not yet available. According to him, the timeline for the reconstruction of the bridge is also uncertain.

Both federal and municipal authorities stressed again how complicated and time-consuming the operation would be.

"We have a ship that is nearly the size of the Eiffel Tower that is now stuck within the channel that has the Key Bridge sitting on top of it. And so this is going to be a long road ... But movement is happening," Moore pointed out.

READ MORE: Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Safety Investigators Look Whether 'Dirty Fuel' Contributed to Tragic Incident

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