The Port jobs are at risk after the Baltimore disaster

How the Baltimore Port will be shut down if it is shut down in the future? Tinglong Dai, a professor at Johns Hopkins, says the bridge is important for Maryland and Baltimore

The Baltimore port is unknown how long it will be shut down. The industries that rely on the port would be affected by a long closure. It could have much more serious consequences for Maryland and Baltimore.

He expects the Port of Baltimore to become more important in the coming decades. “So this would be short-term, but I think the growth is inevitable.”

Disruption at the port will have consequences and can lead to ripple effects. We don’t know how long the port will be closed, so it’s hard to project an economic toll.

The professor at the Carey School knows the bridge and he is Tinglong Dai. He can see it from his office window in Baltimore.

He says it’s a very important bridge. It’s part of an busy highway, I-695, and has symbolic resonance too. He thinks the economic effects of the disaster will be short term and geographically limited.

Some people got lucky. In a part of the port that is not blocked off, Volkswagen and BMW use a terminal by the entrance to Baltimore’s harbor, and expect no impact beyond short term traffic snarls for trucks today.

And it’s not just about getting a car off a ship. Installation and inspection of vehicles are done by facilities at ports. And then you have to get them from the port to dealerships, which means you need trucks and drivers in place.

Dai, of Johns Hopkins, anticipates the shutdown will create delays for auto imports and exports as companies work to find alternatives to the widely used Baltimore port.

Still, the timing isn’t good. Attacks in the Red Sea and drought in the Panama Canal have already complicated global shipping. A disaster that shuts down an American port — so abruptly that six cargo ships are now trapped there — only adds to the disruptions.

According to the head of supply chain research at S&P Global Market Intelligence, Baltimore’s port handled around 3% of imports along the east and Gulf coast.

“Both bridge reconstruction and cargo delays are likely to be extensive,” he wrote in a research note. “However, some freight across containerized and bulk modes could reroute to nearby ports in Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

He said in remarks Tuesday that he was going to do everything he could to protect the jobs at the port.

The port is able to handle bigger ships and more containers because of the large investments it has received.

The governor said the port’s ability to handle large vessels continues to be demonstrated. The port had the largest container ship ever to arrive in February, having the capacity to carry more than 15,000 20-foot containers.

Coal, coffee, and sugar are some of the materials that are transported through the port. In terms of value and volume, it was the ninth busiest port in the nation last year.

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