Supply chains “healing” from Baltimore port disruption

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https://www.portcalls.com/baltimore-bridge-collapse-seriously-disrupts-local-traffic-global-shipping-sp-global/
Port of Baltimore is a leading automobile port in the US. Photo from mpa.maryland.gov.
  • Signs point to supply chains “already healing” following the Port of Baltimore disruption due to the collapsed bridge that closed the port, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
  • The peak season from July onwards may prove “more challenging,” although seasonal goods only represent 6% of Baltimore’s imports      
  • Automotive supply chains may face more of a challenge, with only the Sparrows Point terminal remaining open and expected to handle 10,000 vehicles in the next two weeks

Signs point to supply chains “already healing” following the Port of Baltimore disruption due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that temporarily shut down the port, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Its recent analysis found “the recovery process is underway” but that the timeframe for restoring normalcy in the Baltimore port remains unclear.

No one is saying the task will be easy. Besides the supply chain disruptions, there are still the twin crises of low water levels in the Panama Canal and the hazards of crossing the Red Sea following recent terrorist attacks on commercial vessels.

Chris Rogers, head of supply chain research for the company, said container lines are rerouting their services, including AP Moeller Maersk A/S and MSC Mediterranean Shipping, “which accounted for 53 percent of imports to Baltimore.”

He added that while the peak season from July onwards may prove “more challenging,” seasonal goods only represent 6% of Baltimore’s imports.

“Automotive supply chains may face more of a challenge, with only the Sparrows Point terminal remaining open and expected to handle 10,000 vehicles in the next two weeks compared with normal total monthly imports for Baltimore of 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles. Most of the major users of Baltimore use alternative ports much further south – Mercedes Benz AG and Stellantis N.V. in Georgia – or north – General Motors Company and Ford Motor Company in Newark,” Rogers said.

The Port of Baltimore is a leading automobile port in the US.

And while Baltimore accounts for 28% of US coal exports, the port’s closure “is not expected to have a major impact on global coal prices,” said Rogers.

Among the highlights of the S&P Global Market Intelligence report are that rerouting of vessels to other East Coast ports would need longer opening hours at other ports, according to the Journal of Commerce.

Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co. accounted for 21.8% and 31.5% of shipping volumes through Baltimore in the past 12 months to end-Feb, the report said. Maersk shipped 100,800 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and MSC 145m734 TEUs.

The world’s biggest automakers have indicated they are rerouting their shipments, although General Motors and Mercedes Benz will still be using the nearby Sparrow Point, along with Volkswagen.

Extended delays to shipments are seen to affect sales if alternate routes cannot be found, according to S&P Global Intelligence.

The share of seasonal goods, including toys and other leisure goods, consumer electronics and apparel, at Baltimore is lower than other regional ports, limiting the potential seasonal effect of disruptions, the report added.