Gov. Hochul offers assistance of New York Harbor after Baltimore bridge collapse shuts down port

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Tuesday, March 26, 2024
6 still missing after Baltimore bridge collapse
Christiane Cordero is live in Baltimore with more on the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she reached out to the governor of Maryland after a shocking bridge collapse has left six people unaccounted for in Baltimore.

A container ship lost power and rammed into a major bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday, causing the span to buckle into the river below and plunging a construction crew and several vehicles into the dangerously cold waters.

The collapse is almost sure to create a logistical nightmare for months, if not years, along the East Coast, shutting down ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore and snarling cargo and commuter traffic.

Hochul has offered any assistance needed and acknowledged that what happened Tuesday morning at the Francis Scott Key Bridge could have happened anywhere.

"I said we are sending our prayers to everyone involved, you think about the vulnerability of construction workers, we do everything we can in our states to protect these workers but an incident like this puts them in such harm's way," Hochul said. "For the families and all the individuals affected and the long term affect, the New York Harbor stands ready to assist in any way so we can continue the flow of commerce so it is not disrupted."

Hochul went on to say that New York has over 66 bridges in our harbor area and "we know the vulnerability of what can happen when one is down."

Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime estimated that, "there could be 10 percent increase in volume," at an alternative port, and it may not be "a huge concern because during the supply chain crunch in the pandemic the Port of NY/NJ took in about 20 percent extra volume and was able to handle it."

New York City Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi said she the city is communicating with Baltimore officials, and said the city has "some of the most highly-monitored bridge infrastructure in the nation"

More than 30,000 vehicles crossed the Francis Scott Key Bridge every day. The Baltimore Harbor has two other crossings with the Key Bridge accounting for about 15% of traffic.

It was crucial for large trucks and those carrying hazardous material who can't use the tunnels.

Last year, the Port of Baltimore handled a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo worth $80 billion, according to the state. In addition to cargo, more than than 444,000 passengers cruised out of the port in 2023.

The collapse is not likely to have a big effect on worldwide trade because Baltimore is not a major port for container vessels, but the port's facilities are more important when it comes to goods such as farm equipment and autos, said Judah Levine, head of research for global freight booking platform Freightos.

Levine pointed out that the container ship that struck the bridge seems to be the only one leaving the port, meaning there is not going to be backlog of ships trying to leave. There are an estimated seven ships that were expected to arrive in the port by the end of the week and they will have to be diverted.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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