Ports up and down the Eastern Seaboard are bracing for a flood of cargo that’s being rerouted from the Port of Baltimore after the early Tuesday morning collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Private-sector distributors and port officials told The Hill that cargo shipments are being diverted as a result of the Port of Baltimore’s closure to vessel traffic.

“We’ve been in tons of meetings all day trying to figure out what to do about this,” MacKenzie Chalmers, an administrative coordinator at marine terminal and industrial rail operator Tradepoint Atlantic, told the outlet.

Tradepoint Atlantic works with big name brands like Amazon, Home Depot, McCormick, BMW, and Volkswagen.

A Virginia Port Authority official said his office “was sure” that additional cargo would be passing through the state’s port system, but stressed to The Hill that it wasn’t yet clear what that would entail.

“There’s an open line now with customers, the ocean carriers that own the cargo, which includes some of the big box carriers,” Virginia Port Authority spokesman Joe Harris said. “They’re going to speak and determine where is best to land the cargo.”

On Tuesday, the Port of New York and New Jersey said it was working with shipping companies to ease the strain on East Coast supply chains with the Baltimore port now shut down.

Some of the cargo bound for Baltimore will likely be rerouted to New York, which is the largest port on the East Coast and, after Los Angeles, the second largest in the country.

The effects on overhead costs and consumer prices may end up being blunted, as several ports on the East Coast told The Hill that they were able to absorb additional shipments.

The Port of Baltimore said Tuesday that it is still operational, with trucks coming in and out of terminals, despite being currently closed to ships.

“I don’t think we’ll have a large impact in terms of logistics and shipping moving forward,” Brent Howard, president of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, told The Hill. “There might be snafus over the next couple days while issues are being worked through, but I think they’ll be able to overcome that pretty quickly.”

The Port of Baltimore deals mostly in “roll on, roll off” cargo, meaning vehicles and heavy machinery, and experts say that shipments of automobiles could be the most directly affected by the bridge collapse.

“Baltimore is very significant in terms of … consumer goods, cars, and other things the US imports from abroad,” shipping analyst John Kartsonas wrote in a commentary. “This is not as significant in the commodities business. They do export coal from the Baltimore area, but probably what’s going to be affected most is deliveries of new cars, for example.”

Nicole Wells ✉

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

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