Port of Baltimore


Key Bridge Collapse Aftermath: CNBC Reports

CNBC’s global supply chain reporter Lori Ann LaRocco has extensively covered the aftermath of the Key Bridge collapse and what is next for the Port of Baltimore cleanup. Her “State of Freight” stories include insights from Chertoff Group experts Chad Sweet and Aaron Roth.

In an article published April 1, LaRocco reports “Coast Guard officials have said the secondary channel that is being created in the southwest channel of the Port of Baltimore will only welcome commercial vessels that are cleared by the Coast Guard in the removal of debris.”

These vessels will be considerably smaller than the 284-foot Dali that lost navigational control and crashed into the bridge, destroying it and killing six workers. Officials are assessing the underwater debris field to determine a timeline for safely reopening the channel.

The Chertoff Group’s Aaron Roth, a retired Coast Guard captain and Chertoff Group principal, told CNBC while he cannot predict when the channel will be clear for containerships, the creation of the channel is essential to create safe navigation for work vessels around the Dali.

Roth said there will be one tell-tale sign of when the channel is ready to open.

“Once you see plans of moving the Dali away from the port, that’s when you know the channel is ready to be open,” Roth said. “In the meantime, just like we saw with the Red Sea, the system will adjust. The economy knows best and the economy will absorb it,” he added.

In a related story, LaRocco points to potential critical gaps in the federal government’s port protection powers. In the aftermath of the accident, some experts have said that if the Dali had tugboats escorting it out of the harbor, it may not have hit and destroyed the bridge.

Regulatory mandates near critical infrastructure are unclear in this instance.

Chad Sweet, CEO & Co-Founder of the Chertoff Group said it may be up to Congress to determine the way forward. “I fear we may see from this incident yet another gap that is clearly allocated between different departments and agencies and the need for Congress to clarify clear delineation of when tugboats should be used or not used around critical infrastructure,” Sweet said.

Roth said a tugboat regulation is worth government consideration, but there is unlikely to be quick action and there could be pushback from the maritime sector.

Read CNBC State of Freight from April 1, 2024

Read CNBC State of Freight from April 2, 2024

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