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Baltimore bridge collapses after hit by container ship

BALTIMORE, US, March 26, 2024

The 2.7-km Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, US, collapsed early on Tuesday after it was struck by a container ship at around 1.35am ET.
 
The ship rammed into the bridge, causing it to snap and plunge into the river below. Several vehicles fell into the chilly waters, and rescuers are searching for survivors.
 
It was also not clear what caused the cargo ship to crash into the bridge long before the busy morning commute in what one official called a “developing mass casualty event” in a major American city just outside of Washington. Two people were rescued, and it was not clear how many more might be in the water, an AP report said.
 
Fire Chief James Wallace said authorities “may be looking for upwards of seven people” but said that number could change and other officials wouldn’t give figures, an AP report said. 
 
The container ship involved is the Singapore-flagged Dali which can carry just under 10,000 TEU (20ft shipping containers) and was operating on a 2M alliance service between Baltimore and the Far East.
 
The ship "lost propulsion" as it was leaving port, and crew on board notified Maryland officials they had lost control of the vessel, ABC News reported, citing an unclassified US intelligence report.
 
Emily Stausbøll, Market Analyst at Xeneta – the ocean freight shipping rate benchmarking and intelligence platform, said: “This is a tragic and extremely serious mass casualty event and our thoughts are with all those people involved.
 
“The immediate focus is the rescue operation, but there will clearly be a highly-complex recovery phase and investigation to follow and we don't know what impact this will have on operations at the Port of Baltimore.
 
“While Baltimore is not one of the largest US East Coast ports, it still imports and exports more than one million containers each year so there is the potential for this to cause significant disruption to supply chains.
 
"Far East to US East Coast ocean freight services have already been impacted by drought in the Panama Canal and recent conflict in the Red Sea, which saw rates increase by 150%, so this latest incident will add to those concerns.
 
"It is likely other larger US East Coast ports such as neighbouring New York/New Jersey and Virginia can handle additional container imports if Baltimore is inaccessible, which may limit any impact on ocean freight shipping rates. However, there is only so much port capacity available and this will leave supply chains vulnerable to any further pressure.
 
"The question is how quickly ocean freight carriers can put diversions in place, particularly for vessels already en route to Baltimore or containers at the port waiting to be exported," Stausbøll said.
 



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