Collapsed Baltimore bridge also affects electric vehicle transportation


In a recent incident, a cargo ship collided with a support pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore’s port on Tuesday. Consequently, sections of the bridge collapsed shortly after the impact, leaving six construction workers who were present at the time still missing.

The collapse of the bridge, coupled with ongoing repair work, has rendered certain parts of the port inaccessible. Baltimore holds significant importance as a primary import port in the USA, particularly for vehicles. Major car manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen utilize two terminals for their imports. While the Dundalk terminal, utilized by VW and BMW, remains operational as it is situated before the bridge, the Fairfield terminal used by Mercedes-Benz, located behind the bridge, is currently unreachable from the sea. Speculations from “WirtschaftsWoche” suggest that access to the Fairfield terminal might be obstructed for weeks.

A spokesperson from Mercedes mentioned collaborating with logistics partners to explore the possibility of adjusting delivery routes within the USA temporarily. However, the road to normalization is expected to be arduous and costly, as emphasized by US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who highlighted the challenging journey ahead.

Baltimore, with a substantial volume of 600,000 vehicles imported in 2022 and 200,000 vehicles exported from the USA, faces significant disruptions due to the bridge incident. Although details regarding the impact on vehicle imports, especially electric cars from Mercedes, remain unclear, alternatives such as other ports like Brunswick and Charleston are being considered.

The closure of the port for up to three months, as speculated by insiders, poses further challenges for companies like Tesla, which also utilize the Fairfield terminal for global vehicle shipments. While General Motors reported minimal impact on its operations, Stellantis and Toyota anticipate significant disruptions.

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Finding replacement ports isn’t straightforward due to specific vehicle handling requirements, especially regarding RoRo transporters. It’s not merely a matter of finding available capacity but also ensuring appropriate facilities for loading and unloading vehicles. Thus, the search for viable alternative ports is a complex endeavor.


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