Baltimore Port transit may resume by the end of the month

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Baltimore Port transit may resume by the end of the month

Over a month and a half after a container shipped crashed against the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore causing its collapse, shipping giant, A.P. Moller-Maersk, says it's close to resuming operations at the Port of Baltimore. 

Charles Van der Steene, president of Maersk North America spoke with CNBC and said they may be able to set a timeline for returning to the port in the next week or so. 

Maersk, which was chartering the Dali vessel at the time of the accident is still removing containers from the ship, which was freed from the wreckage of the bridge on Monday after a series of precision explosions. 

“At this stage, there is no immediate planning to take more containers off the Dali and that’s almost entirely linked to the ability to float it and make sure that we can get it into the port,” Van der Steene told CNBC. 

In April, port officials opened four temporary channels to restore transit in and out of the port, however, the main 50-foot-deep channel remains closed until the ship is removed. The removal of the ship should essentially restore marine traffic to normal.

“We at this stage have helped our customers create mitigating solutions through either Norfolk or Newark, both of the road or through the shuttle,” Van de Steene said.

Global logistics

Peak shipping season which starts in June hits the logistics industry at a rather complicated moment, with the Red Sea conflict and Panama Canal drought stranding the capacity of companies. 

Van der Steene said it will be a challenging season "across the board," with longer transit times and increased fuel costs causing an increase in shipping surcharges, which end up increasing costs for consumers. 

Maersk is working on growing its infrastructure to support the expansion of trade by building out both its terminal complex offerings and landside fulfillment capacity.

“From the start of 2023 to the end of the year 2024, we will have a five-fold increase of our footprint,” said Van der Steene. “That’s additional campus buildings that will help us provide fulfillment capabilities into the U.S. market.”

Related article: Rescue efforts underway after cargo ship crash causes Baltimore bridge collapse

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