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Bridge collapse in Baltimore: German car manufacturers affected – 2024-03-29 02:20:45

The US government warns that there could be problems with supply chains after the bridge collapsed in Baltimore. A German car manufacturer is also affected.

According to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the collapse of the car bridge in Baltimore also has economic consequences. Because of the importance of the port behind it, we are already preparing for supply chain problems, “which we know will come,” said Buttigieg at a press conference on site on Tuesday afternoon (local time). These would then not only affect the region around Baltimore, “but the entire US economy.” German companies could also be affected.

After the incident, the responsible port authority suspended shipping traffic until further notice. According to Buttigieg, the main part of the port lies behind the collapsed bridge. According to US President Joe Biden, it is one of the most important maritime contact points in the USA – especially for the import and export of cars and small trucks.

Video | Ship hits bridge – it collapses

Quelle: t-online

Mercedes terminal currently not accessible

Mercedes-Benz in particular is likely to feel the impact among German companies. The car manufacturer operates a terminal in the currently inaccessible port area. Mercedes-Benz told Handelsblatt that it uses the port of Baltimore primarily for imports, but also the ports of New Brunswick and Charleston. The company told the Handelsblatt that it was “in close contact” with the logistics service providers. Delivery routes are currently being reviewed “to evaluate alternatives.”

BMW and VW also operate terminals in Baltimore, but at the port entrance, i.e. in front of the collapsed bridge. “We do not expect any impact on shipping operations, but there may be delays in truck traffic as traffic in the area is being rerouted,” a VW spokesman told Handelsblatt. BMW also assumes that there will be “short-term traffic disruptions”, but not any impact on its own business.

“The port specializes in unloading cars”

The closure of the port is also likely to affect German trade with the USA overall, says an expert. “Trade with Germany is likely to be affected by diversions,” Commerzbank trading expert Vincent Stamer told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday in view of the expected disruptions in trade in the Washington metropolitan region. “The Port of Baltimore specializes in unloading cars.” The relevant ships would probably have to be rerouted to New York and Florida, which could lead to delays.

Experts do not expect any major disruptions to the supply chains. “Overall, the Port of Baltimore has little importance for U.S. trade,” Stamer said. “The port is not even among the third largest on the US East Coast.” The ports of New York/Newark, Savannah and the Port of Virginia are in some cases much more important. Logistics experts believe that competing ports on the US East Coast have plenty of spare capacity. “We are ready to help,” Port of Virginia spokesman Joe Harris told Reuters. “We have sufficient capacity to absorb any increase in container traffic.”

Around 850,000 vehicles are shipped through the Port of Baltimore every year. Around 15,000 jobs depend on it. The bridge is also an important traffic artery on the east coast of the USA. According to Biden, before the accident, they crossed around 30,000 vehicles per day.

Expert: More of an impact on a regional level

Contrary to Buttigieg’s statements, a US expert does not expect any major supply chain problems or sharp price increases. Economist Ryan Sweet told Reuters that while the incident once again highlighted the vulnerability of U.S. supply chains, “this event will have a greater economic impact on the Baltimore economy than nationally.” He does not expect any visible effect on the economic strength of the USA.

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