Baltimore Shipping Channel Reopens After 11-Week Closure Due to Bridge Collapse

by Emmitt Barry, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Authorities expect commercial shipping traffic through the Port of Baltimore to return to normal levels soon. This follows the full reopening of the channel this week, marking the first time it has been open since the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge approximately 11 weeks ago.

On Monday, Unified Command reopened the full-width Ft. McHenry Channel after the Key Bridge collapse into the Patapsco River. The 700-foot-wide, 50-foot-deep channel now allows two-way traffic for large vessels, benefiting the Port of Baltimore, which faced significant economic losses since the March 26 incident. The collapse killed six construction workers and halted port traffic. Now, commercial ships can pass through the main channel 24 hours a day.

“They are back open for business, ready to bring in the largest container ships that call there,” U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Shannon Gilreath stated during a virtual press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.

Following the deadly bridge collapse in March, some shipping companies rerouted their cargo to other ports. The disaster halted most maritime traffic through Baltimore’s port as crews cleared an estimated 50,000 tons of debris from the Patapsco River. This $100 million effort involved federal, state, and local agencies. Maryland used about $60 million in federal emergency funds to open three smaller channels outside the main one.

At its peak, the Unified Command, consisting of six agencies, coordinated response efforts involving about 56 federal, state, and local agencies, with 1,587 responders. Around 500 specialists operated 18 barges, 22 tugboats, 13 floating cranes, 10 excavators, and four survey boats to assist in the salvage efforts.

New data reveals the significant business losses the Port of Baltimore suffered due to the disaster. A Forbes analysis of Census data shows that exports in April 2024 were down 86% compared to April 2023, while imports dropped by 71%. Overall, trade declined by more than $5 billion.

Copyright 1999-2024 Worthy News. This article was originally published on Worthy News and was reproduced with permission.


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