Governors say Port of NY and NJ can handle Baltimore-bound cargo

Updated Mar 31, 2024
Federal, state and local authorites view the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore Harbor

The Port of New York and New Jersey is ready and able to handle any container ships being diverted from Baltimore because of Tuesday's collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which has closed the port indefinitely.

In a joint statement today New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said:

“The tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has touched every corner of the nation, and we are ready to support Governor Moore and the people of Maryland in any way. We have seen over the past several years that indefinite port closures can impact national and global supply chains, which hurt everyday consumers the hardest. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey can take on additional cargo, and we have directed the Authority to further evaluate all available resources to minimize supply chain disruptions. Along with our federal partners, we will continue to work together to support our neighbors in Baltimore and consumers nationwide.”

The Port of New York and New Jersey is the nation's third largest port, and biggest on the East Coast.

Searchers recovered two bodies of workers who were on the Key bridge when it was struck by a container ship that lost power when attempting to go under the bridge as to was leaving the port. The Singapore-flagged ship the Dali struck a support of the bridge at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, sending the span into the Patapsco River.

A crew was repairing potholes on the bridge at the time of the crash. The bodies of two workers have been recovered. The four others are expected to be under the rubble of the collapsed bridge.

The bridge collapse could have been worse had the crew of the containership not sent a mayday distress signal allowing police to block traffic from crossing the bridge.

The Army Corps of Engineers will oversee the operation to remove the steel and concrete of the fallen bridge to reopen the port.

Last year, the Port of Baltimore handled a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo worth $80 billion, according to the state. Also, more than 444,000 passengers cruised out of the port in 2023. Baltimore handles thousands of automobiles imported from foreign factories, as well as farm equipment, lumber and coal.

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 The Port of Baltimore supports 15,300 jobs, while another 140,000 in the area are related to port activities. The jobs provide a combined $3.3 billion in personal income. Legislators are considering a bill to ensure these workers are paid.

While ship traffic is halted, the port is still open for trucks.