My take: The impact of the Key Bridge collapse


As the shock began to wear off from the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key bridge, speculation turned the impact on East Coast ports.

Much of the Port of Baltimore will be closed to ships for an extended period after a cargo ship apparently lost propulsion and crashed into the bridge early Tuesday morning. Sadly, several maintenance workers on the bridge at the time are presumed dead.

The port is open to trucks, and traffic snarls will likely occur around the port and along interstates in the coming weeks.

The Port of Wilmington was widely mentioned as a destination for some shipments along with Newark, Norfolk, Philadelphia, and others.

Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, who sometimes serves as a spokesman for the state-owned but privately managed Wilmington port, told WHYY Enstructure had received inquiries about using the Delaware docks. Enstructure recently took over after a troubled-plagued stint from Gulftainer.


Operators in the highly competitive business have offered to help in any way possible to cope with the port’s loss

The biggest bottleneck will come in the Maryland port’s bread and butter market, vehicle shipments.

A number of car companies using the Maryland port and are scrambling to find other options.

One major player, Volkswagen, has a Baltimore site that is not affected by the collapse of the Key Bridge. At one time, VW brought vehicles to the Port of Wilmington. The Delaware port is still used to export vehicles, although Philadelphia has been expanding its presence in that market segment.

The Key Bridge’s collapse illustrates that the global supply chain is still in delicate condition. A catastrophe at a larger port (Baltimore ranks 18th among in the US) would have a far greater impact.

It also makes the work at the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which will make it less vulnerable to ship collisions, is money well spent.

Finally, the Maryland Transportation Administration issued the following advisories for travelers who use the Key Bridge – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.