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Baltimore Bridge Collapse Impact


Cargo Ship hitting Francis Scott Key Bridge
NTSB drone image of Francis Scott Key Bridge and Cargo Ship Dali

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that carried 11 million vehicles across the Port of Baltimore may delay manufacturing orders for farmland owners but won’t likely significantly impact commodities, according to various reports.


A cargo ship, reportedly in distress, slammed into the bridge on Tuesday and knocked eight people working on the bridge into the dark waters below. Rescuers were only able to find two of those workers alive.


The loss of lives will be the biggest tragedy, of course. But the crash could also impact various sectors of the economy. According to an NBC News’ report, no port in the country carries more large agricultural equipment than Baltimore for major farm purchases like tractors, combines, forklifts, bulldozers, and heavy-duty trucks.


Dean Croke, principal analyst with DAT, told NBC, “I think it has a huge economic impact on the farming industry. This is peak planting season in the Midwest and peak machinery import season. March is the biggest month for machinery shipments into the U.S. via Baltimore.”


Maryland Governor Wes Moore told Fox News that the crash will do “significant” economic damage to the country because of the area’s importance in transporting goods. Watch that interview here. 


Farmland owners, who are already looking for ways to save money this year with incomes expected to decline, could face additional costs because of the bridge’s collapse. Transportation companies will have to reroute, potentially adding unplanned costs.


U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said that the country is better prepared for dealing with supply interruptions following changes since COVID-19 hit the country.


“We are much better equipped to mitigate supply chain disruptions than we were just a few years ago, thanks to increased coordination across the supply chain and new efforts to strengthen both our physical and digital infrastructure. The Department of Transportation is ready to support Baltimore in any way we can as we work to mitigate impacts on our economy and the community,” Buttigieg said.


Buttigieg met Thursday with dozens of leaders from ports, labor groups, and transportation/shipping industries as part of his visit to see the damages in Baltimore.

Farmland owners hope that Buttigieg is correct with his assessment, because it could take crews two years to rebuild the damage bridge.

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