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Vessel Hits Key Bridge in Baltimore, Causing Major Shipping Disruptions

A terrible incident has transpired earlier today at the Port of Baltimore when vessel Dali collided with the the Francis Scott Key Bridge, resulting in damage to the structure.

This is a developing incident at the time of this writing and real impacts are not known as of yet. The crew of the vessel issued a “mayday” saying that it had lost power and propulsion before hitting the bridge which resulted in quick action from bridge workers closing the bridge to traffic and this has prevented more dire consequences.

The 10,000-TEU vessel Dali is owned by Grace Ocean and operated by Synergy Group. The vessel was chartered by Maersk and was carrying Maersk cargo at the time of the incident. No Maersk crew or personnel was onboard.

Sources: Spire Global, Google Earth, By Agnes Chang and Weiyi Cai,

The Port of Baltimore is ranking 15th in terms of TEUs being handled, 17th for tonnage ranking and 10th for dry bulk ranking.

Maersk has announced that it is omitting Baltimore calls for all their services.

Similar immediate action will be taken by all other carriers that have Baltimore calls and it will be in place until the full recovery has come to pass.

Vessels will be diverted to nearby ports. The Port of New York/New Jersey and Norfolk are the closest two ports which will be getting most of the volume from potential diversions. The Port of Savannah should not get impacted for container traffic but it there are potential impacts on ro-ro and breakbulk services down in Brunswick. Vessels that are supposed to continue their journey and currently trapped at the Port of Baltimore will remain there until the debris is cleared.

The building efforts will be long-term and this will have profound impact on the cargo handled at the Port of Baltimore.

From a broader perspective, this is not a global event that will have huge effects on vessel rotations considering the volumes that the Port of Baltimore handles.

U.S. East Coast ports have been fluid. The effect of additional vessel diversions to the Ports of New York/New Jersey and Norfolk is yet to be seen.

From a trucking standpoint, this has potential consequences on the trucking power for these ports.

U.S. East Coast ports have been impacted by the Panama Canal drought and Suez Canal issues already, and this incident is also happening when ILA contracts are being negotiated.

Most importers had already started to put some emergency action plans in place, especially for time-sensitive cargo.

Some diversions to U.S. West Coast ports had begun. This particular incident will not have broader impacts, but it is certainly supporting the case of diversification of the supply chains from an import perspective.

Serkan Kavas
Serkan Kavas
Serkan Kavas was born and raised in Turkey. He graduated from Dokuz Eylul University with a Degree in Business Administration in 2001. He had an internship in Germany at a major industrial company after college. He worked at their family business in Turkey and managed their exports from Turkey to Europe. He moved to the U.S. to continue his education in New York and obtained his MBA degree with International Business concentration at New York Institute of Technology in 2005. After graduation he was recruited by MTS Logistics and he has been working at the company since 2005. Serkan worked his way up from the entry level to operations manager and to his current position as our VP of Imports at MTS Logistics. He wears different hats daily with different responsibilities. He has vast knowledge, experience, and understanding of all aspects of logistics, freight, and the supply chain. His focus now is to help develop our import department and help our company move forward.

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