Tech

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Will Get Worse


Early Tuesday morning, global supply chains and U.S. coastal infrastructure collided in the worst possible way. Dalistruck the supports of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, presses its central span into the Patapsco River and cut off the city’s port from the Atlantic Ocean. Eighteen hours later, at around 7:30 pm on Tuesday, rescuers called off the search and the six missing people were presumed dead.

The Port of Baltimore, a major shipping hub, has suspended all water traffic as the wreckage remains to be cleared, but trucks are still moving in and out of the area, according to the Maryland Port Authority. Baltimore is the ninth-busiest port, which means that no matter how long it takes to repair the 47-year-old bridge, the impact of the accident will be felt throughout the region, the U.S. and the global economy — and experts say the timing is Still not sure.

This will be a particular pain for the automotive, agricultural equipment and construction industries, as Baltimore handles the largest number of “ro-ro” ships – an industry term for those designed to handle wheeled cargo – on the U.S. East Coast. ship. Special equipment to transport these products, workers trained on how to use the equipment, and most importantly, the location is just an overnight drive from the densely populated East Coast and agriculturally intensive Midwest.

Last year, nearly 850,000 cars and light trucks passed through the port, along with 1.3 million tons of agricultural and construction machinery.

Fortunately for the logistics industry, there are alternative routes for both incoming ships and trucks crossing the river. Two tunnels cross the Patapsco River and carry some of the goods and people that once crossed the Key Bridge, of which it is also a part. Maryland Route 695. Nearby ports, including Norfolk, Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Savannah, Georgia, should be able to receive many of the cargo typically handled by the Port of Baltimore.

But the longer it takes for a disaster to be resolved, the more complicated the shipping situation becomes. Ships transport large quantities of large cargo across the oceans, but at relatively slow speeds, which means changes in routes and destination cargo can add significant time to the journey. A ship is transporting a lot of different goods for many different industries, and delays along the way result in many people screaming for supplies.

“Everyone is saying right now, ‘We just need to change course and everything will be fine,’” said Nada Sanders, a supply chain management expert at Northeastern University. “If this continues for a while, things will not be the same. It’ll get better.” Okay. This affects the price. “

Bigger boats, same bridges

The destruction of the bridge also highlights the growing size of ships.Cross-sea trade transport volume tripled over the past thirty years.nearly 1,000 feet long Dali It is a symbol of the booming shipping industry.

The growth of ships is due to a simple principle of economics: the more cargo a ship carries, the greater the cost savings. “There’s been a huge increase in cargo volume,” Zal Phiroz, a supply chain analyst at the University of California, San Diego, said. “This is very much affected by COVID-19, and post-COVID as well. Cargo prices are skyrocketing, container prices are skyrocketing. Everything is skyrocketing.”



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