When Will Baltimore Port Resume Business After Massive Bridge Collapse?


Unveiling Maersk’s Plans to Revive Baltimore’s Shipping Network

Progress at the Port of Baltimore offers a Glimmer of Hope

After a devastating bridge collapse halted operations, the Port of Baltimore is gradually regaining its footing.

LA News Center spoke with Charles Van der Steene, President of Maersk North America, to uncover Maersk’s plans for resuming service at this pivotal hub.

A Timeline Emerges

“With promising progress in debris removal, we anticipate setting a timetable for Maersk’s return to the Port of Baltimore within the next week or so,” stated Van der Steene. “Our network team estimates that we could resume services by the month’s end, assuming the channel reopens.”

The final decision to reopen the port lies with Unified Command, the government agency overseeing the cleanup effort.

Experts hope to refloat the container ship Dali, which caused the bridge collapse, by May 10th. Consequently, the primary 50-foot-deep shipping channel may be operational by the end of May.

Maersk’s Cautious Approach

Maersk closely monitors the cleanup progress, but uncertainties remain. According to Van der Steene, less than 200 containers have been salvaged from the Dali in the past nine days.

“Currently, there are no immediate plans for further container removal,” explained Van der Steene. “This is primarily driven by the need to ensure the vessel’s buoyancy for safe transportation into the port.”

  • Maersk’s Global Outlook
    Amidst the Baltimore situation, Maersk grapples with broader industry challenges. CEO Vincent Clerc recently highlighted diversions through the Red Sea, extended vessel transits around the Cape of Good Hope, and reduced capacity on the Panama Canal.
  • Capacity Crunch and Rising Costs
    These factors contribute to a global shortage of vessel and container availability. Consequently, shipping surcharges have increased, which retailers inevitably pass on to consumers.
  • Reinventing 2024
    Despite challenges, Van der Steene remains optimistic. Healthy freight orders from Asia signal a “year of reinvigoration.” Growth in North America, particularly the US, exceeds expectations, outpacing forecasts.

Expansion Plans and Transborder Trucking Boom

Maersk is embracing growth opportunities amidst the industry upheaval. In Mexico, the company is expanding its infrastructure, building terminal complexes and enhancing landside fulfillment capabilities. Van der Steene anticipates a five-fold increase in Maersk’s footprint by the end of 2024.

Moreover, transborder trucking between Mexico and the United States has surged by 10-15%, driven by nearshoring and trade concerns.

Regarding the upcoming peak shipping season, Van der Steene expects normal volumes. “We anticipate a regular peak season,” he said, emphasizing that certain industries, such as retail, may experience more pronounced fluctuations.

Data sourced from: cnbc.com