Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

The Port of Baltimore reopens to cargo ships after debris from the bridge is completely cleared

By meerna Jun12,2024

BALTIMORE – A major shipping lane into the Port of Baltimore was completely cleared of debris this week, marking the full restoration of maritime traffic after a merchant ship lost power and destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge nearly three months ago.

On March 26, the Dali container ship struck one of the bridge’s support beams, destroying it and ending the lives of six construction workers who were filling holes in the road above. As a result, the Fort McHenry Water Channel became completely blocked, leading to the complete closure of the Port of Baltimore and harming the state’s economy.

The canal has now been restored to its original dimensions of 700 feet wide and 50 feet deep, allowing cargo ship transportation to resume.

“This was an extremely complex operation, involving thousands of people, hundreds of assets and multiple targets,” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement. “With the canal now fully open, we can ensure more Marylanders return to work at the Port of Baltimore, increase the flow of commerce through the city, and accelerate economic recovery.”

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Navy’s Salvage and Diving Inspector, who oversaw the cleanup, 50,000 tons of wreckage had to be removed from the water. Nearly 60 agencies, 18 barges, 22 tugboats, 13 cranes, 10 excavators and four research boats were involved in the cleanup.

The Port of Baltimore is a small port compared to the largest in the country, but it has advantages over some imports and exports. In 2023, the port ranked first in the country in terms of transshipment of passenger cars, light trucks, agricultural and construction equipment, as well as imported sugar and gypsum. According to the government website, the largest imports were passenger cars and light trucks, salt, paper/cardboard, plaster and plywood/veneer/particleboard. The largest exports were coal, liquefied natural gas, waste paper, scrap iron and passenger cars/light trucks.

Plywood veneer is valued in the furniture and wood industries. According to the government website, in January this year the port transported over 62,000 tons of containers of forest products. This is the largest amount transferred since August 2023.

Bridge reconstruction has not yet begun, but the Maryland Transportation Authority said it remains a “top priority.” The bridge was the main communication route in the region, with approximately 30,000 vehicles passing through it every day. Reconstruction of the bridge is estimated to cost between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion and is scheduled for completion in 2028.

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By meerna

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