Mar 27, 2024 - News

Baltimore bridge collapse will have local and countrywide impacts

A cargo ship sits in the water facing a broken bridge.

The cargo ship Dali sits in the water after running into and collapsing the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Tuesday's tragic early morning collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge won't just affect local life — it'll also have countrywide economic impacts.

The big picture: The Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest in the U.S., has halted vessel traffic indefinitely in the wake of the bridge's collapse — which is expected to affect the flow of commerce in the U.S.

State of play: Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) declared a state of emergency Tuesday after a ship issued a mayday call before striking the bridge overnight. Rescuers were deployed to search for people and cars that plunged into the Patapsco River.

  • The decades-old bridge offered a key transport helping link Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.

What they're saying: While an investigation is ongoing, President Biden said that all evidence so far indicates it was a "terrible accident."

  • "We have no other indication, no other reason to believe it was any intentional act here," he said Tuesday.

The latest: The Coast Guard transitioned Tuesday from an active search to a recovery effort for six missing construction workers now presumed to be dead. They were working with a crew of eight to repair asphalt on the bridge before its collapse.

  • Two were rescued Tuesday.

What we're watching: It's too early to determine how long the port will be closed, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld told reporters Tuesday. But Biden said he's asked his team "to move heaven and earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible."

Zoom in: The bridge collapse means impacted traffic for local commuters and travelers ahead of Easter weekend, as well as halted commercial transport.

Meanwhile, at least 10 commercial ships bound for Baltimore were forced to drop anchor in nearby waters Tuesday after port traffic was suspended, Reuters reported.

  • A number of major companies — including Amazon, FedEx, and BMW — also have distribution warehouses and other facilities at an industrial park at the north end of the bridge, Bloomberg reported.
  • The bottleneck of imports and exports could also spur a shift to moving goods through West Coast ports, according to Bloomberg.

Go deeper: What to know about the ripple effects of the Baltimore bridge collapse

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