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Port of Baltimore’s Shutdown Creates Ripples in Global Supply Chains: How to Manage the Disruption

One of the busiest ports in the United States is closed after a bridge collapse – Here’s the impact

Port of Baltimore’s Shutdown Creates Ripples in Global Supply Chains: How to Manage the Disruption

The recent shutdown at the Port of Baltimore has caused a ripple effect on global supply chains. The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse on Tuesday halted operations at one of the United States’ busiest ports, situated at the entrance of Baltimore Harbor. As a result, sea traffic has been suspended until further notice, causing disruptions in major car manufacturers and cargo ships bound for Baltimore.

The Port of Baltimore is renowned as the busiest car port in the country, with over 750,000 vehicles imported and exported through it last year. Major car manufacturers like General Motors, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Fiat, and Audi have already started redirecting their deliveries to other ports while cargo ships bound for Baltimore are exploring alternative sea routes.

Despite the disruption caused by the port shutdown, experts point out that there is currently overcapacity in ocean freight services. This cushions the shock to supply chains caused by the port shutdown and ensures that goods will still be able to move through different means. However, contingency plans have been put in place for various scenarios due to recent disruptions in global supply chains such as the Suez Canal blockage and the COVID-19 pandemic. Many east coast ports have assured that they can accommodate diverted shipments bound for Baltimore, minimizing potential economic impacts at a national level.

While some experts predict significant repercussions on global supply chains due to the bridge collapse’s impact on domestic supply chains, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg acknowledges this impact but has not yet determined its full extent. Despite this disruption’s localized effects on the Baltimore area than on the overall US economy according to Chief US economist Ryan Sweet from Oxford Economics who believes that minimal effects on inflation and GDP suggest that these supply chain disruptions can be managed effectively in the coming weeks.

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