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‘Our first priority is to open the port,’ says Biden in Baltimore

‘Our first priority is to open the port,’ says Biden in Baltimore
‘Our first priority is to open the port,’ says Biden in Baltimore

“The impact here is significant. Up and down the [East] Coast and around the country. Our first priority is to open the port. It’s one of the nation’s largest shipping hubs. It’s the top port in America both for import and export,” says US President Joe Biden. 

He visited the area of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse to assess the damage and speak to the families of the construction workers who were on the bridge during the collision more than a week ago. 

The same day as Biden’s visit, rescue workers recovered a third body. Three others are still unaccounted for. With parts of the mangled wreckage still in the murky water, rescue workers are not able to work as fast.

“The damage is devastating; our hearts are still aching,” says Biden. “Most were immigrants. Hard-working, strong, and selfless after pulling a night shift fixing potholes. They were on a break when the ship struck. 

Efforts to clear the wreckage and restore vessel traffic are still ongoing. 

Update on the progress

“Thousands of tons of mangle steel remain large in the water, blocking ships from moving in and out of the harbor,” explains Biden to the public after his high-level meeting with experts in charge of the scene. 

The president has directed the Coast Guard, Navy, and Army Corps of Engineers to help remove the steel quickly and safely. 

At this point, “two small channels” have been cleared for essential ships to help clear the wreckage. The third channel is only expected to open by the end of this month. 

Teams are expected to work long hours to chase the deadline outlined by Biden. He wants the third channel to open for commercial traffic and car carriers by the end of this month.

By the end of May, the entire channel is expected to open. 

Industry braces for impact

With the partial closure of the Port of Baltimore, the logistics sector, businesses, and broader supply chain network are bearing the brunt of this. It’s one of the largest ports in the US, and the Port of Baltimore plays a crucial role in facilitating trade and transporting goods. 

The impact on the industry will surely be felt for a long time. It includes: 

  • Derailing the cargo flow: It affects importers, exporters, and businesses reliant on on-time shipment. 
  • Increased rates: Delays in cargo movement can lead to increased costs, inventory shortages, and logistical challenges for companies across various sectors. 
  • Strain on transportation networks: The prolonged closure can strain the transportation networks as alternative routes and ports are used for supply chain continuity. 
  • Economic impact: The financial implications stretch beyond local businesses, potentially affecting national economies due to the trade activity and increased costs associated with rerouting cargo. 

The bridge collapse underscores the vulnerability of crucial infrastructure. It also highlights the need for resilient supply chain strategies to mitigate disruptions caused by unforeseen events.

NOW READ: US Army Corps of Engineers plans to open deep-channel

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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