The Collapse of the Frances Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore

The Dali, a Singaporean flagged container ship, struck the Frances Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore causing it to partially collapse on March 26th, 2024. Six construction workers lost their lives.

As tragic as that is, the loss of life could have been a lot worse for the reason that the Frances Scott Key Bridge is a major corridor of traffic around the City of Baltimore. That highway attaches to I-95 which spans from the Canadian Border in Maine to Miami Florida. Similar to I-90 and I-65, I-95 is a major roadway for this nation’s commerce. Fortunately, local authorities responded quickly and heroically after receiving the Dali’s distress / critical emergency alert message and were able to clear the bridge of car traffic ahead of the collision.

For those that are unfamiliar with the Chesapeake Bay, it is one of the world’s best natural port systems. It has over 11,684 miles of shoreline that can be used for ports. To place some perspective on the magnitude of that figure, the Chesapeake Bay has more shore line of the entire West Coast of the United States and 2.5 times more shoreline than all of the Great Lakes combined.

The Port of Baltimore’s historical importance is that it was the closest port to the Cumberland Gap. The latter of which is of major significance because that was the access to the Ohio River Valley back in the day. Currently, the Port of Baltimore is the nation’s eighth largest port by tonnage and ninth largest by value but has punched above its weight class as it relates growth in imports.

Suffice it to say, the economic impact from the collapse will be significant for the Local economy. However, for the nation at large it may not be as bad as reported as the imports the Port of Baltimore normally receive can be and will be rerouted to the ports of NY/NJ, Norfolk, Mobile, Charleston, Savannah, New Haven, Boston, and Miami.

That is not to say that there will not be supply line disruption, and increases in prices, there will be. However, and similar to the loss of lives, things could be a lot worse. Think about how much commerce would be lost if all of the entire 11,684 miles of Chesapeake shoreline had been developed AND the U.S. utilized more of its 3,000 plus miles of navigable rivers to carry this nations supplies and commerce. Certainly, our economy would be a lot different. Without a doubt, the State of Indiana with borders at the Great Lakes and the State of Ohio would be one of the economic juggernauts of the nation. And Local 697 could have literally powered up all those businesses that were created as a result.

It still could! But that’s for the voters of this state to decide and fight for.