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What’s next for the Port of Baltimore now that the Dali has moved?

Nearly two months after it struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the container ship Dali was removed from the waterway leading to the Port of Baltimore on Monday. Ship traffic in and around the bridge wreck was largely at a standstill in recent weeks, and Baltimore’s port economy took a major hit. But now that the Dali has been moved, the Coast Guard expects cargo ships of the same size and type to enter the port as before the bridge collapse.

Sugar, cars, tractors and containers full of other goods are all expected to return to the Port of Baltimore on a regular basis.

“It looks like the cargo will start rolling in again,” said Scott Cowan, president of a local chapter of the International Longshoremen’s Association.

Dock workers move cargo to and from ships, and about 1,800 of those workers have been unemployed here since the bridge collapsed. But Cowan said that is changing.

“We have a good looking ship schedule for the next two months,” he said.

Parts of the port still feel empty, including the Baltimore location for Trans American Trucking & Warehouse. Owner Craig McGraw, who is also the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, said many of his customers decided to ship to other ports, such as Norfolk, Virginia, and Savannah, Georgia, while Baltimore was out of reach. He’s afraid business won’t return.

“If all goes well at the new port, will they turn around and come back to Baltimore and go through that whole process again?” McGraw said.

But Baltimore has some advantages. It is located further inland than any other port on the East Coast, meaning that when freight arrives here, it does not have to travel as far overland to get to its destination.

Phil Evers, a professor of supply chain management at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, said he thinks this will bring back a lot of shipments “simply because it’s usually a lot cheaper to ship a container by water.” then move by truck or rail.”

Not only containers are coming back, but also passengers. Cruise ships return. Carnival announced that a ship will enter the port next week. (It had temporarily moved its Baltimore operations to Norfolk.)

Evers said some positives could come out of the disaster: As Baltimore explores rebuilding the bridge, it could consider creating one that allows for a wider navigation channel, “so more traffic can get in and out come,” he says. said.

Evers also said any new bridge would likely be state-of-the-art in both design and construction, meaning engineers could think about how it could withstand impacts in the future.

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