Home News Baltimore’s Port Handled a Record Amount of Cargo Last Year

Baltimore’s Port Handled a Record Amount of Cargo Last Year

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Baltimore’s Port Handled a Record Amount of Cargo Last Year

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The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge has brought the Port of Baltimore, an important trade hub, to a halt.

The port handled a record amount of cargo last year, making it the 20th biggest port in the nation ranked by total tons, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. It ranks first in the United States for the volume of automobiles and light trucks it handles and for vessels that carry wheeled cargo, including farm and construction machinery, according to a statement by Gov. Wes Moore of Maryland last month.

Around the world, about 40 ships, including 34 cargo vessels, have Baltimore listed as a destination, including 10 commercial ships with anchors dropped in nearby waters, according to MarineTraffic, which tracks ships.

Georgios Hatzimanolis, who analyzes global shipping for MarineTraffic, said he expects the bridge collapse to cause shipping delays. “We do expect there to be a ripple effect, but it’s a bit too early to say what the impact will be,” he said. Ships heading to Baltimore with cargo to unload may instead go to ports in New Jersey or North Carolina, he said.

The port has also increasingly catered to large container ships like the Dali, the 948-foot-long cargo vessel carrying goods for the shipping giant Maersk that hit a pillar of the bridge around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. The Dali had spent two days in Baltimore’s port before setting off toward the 1.6-mile Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The arrival of large container ships to the port “continues to demonstrate Baltimore’s capabilities of handling supersized vessels,” Governor Moore said in the statement. The largest container ship ever to enter the port, as of February, arrived last year with the capacity to carry more than 15,000 20-foot containers.

State-owned terminals, managed by the Maryland Port Administration, and privately owned terminals in Baltimore transported a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo in 2023, worth $80 billion. The port handled nearly 850,000 cars and light trucks last year, more than in any other U.S. port for the past 13 years.

Other materials transported in large volumes through the city’s port include coal, coffee and sugar. It was the ninth-busiest port in the nation last year for receiving foreign cargo, in terms of volume and value.

The bridge’s collapse will also disrupt cruises traveling in and out of Baltimore. Norwegian Cruise Line last year began a new fall and winter schedule calling at the Port of Baltimore.

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