Baltimore Bridge Collapse And Ocean Freight Shipping Rates

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  • The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore has caused supply chain disruption on the US East Coast but, so far, it has not seen an increase in ocean freight container shipping rates.
  • Data released by Xeneta, the ocean freight rate benchmarking and intelligence platform, reveals that average spot rates from the Far East into the US North East Coast (including Baltimore) have fallen slightly since the bridge collapse on 26 March.

Spot rates have not reacted significantly, with rates showing a slight decrease of 1% since the incident, standing at USD 5421 per FEU (40ft shipping container). Similarly, rates from North Europe to the US North East Coast have seen an 8% decrease to stand at USD 2357 per FEU.

Challenges for Shippers

Peter Sand, Xeneta Chief Analyst, stated that while spot rates have not increased, shippers with cargo heading to Baltimore are facing challenges as containers are being redirected to other ports, primarily New York / New Jersey.

Port of Baltimore Recovery

The Port of Baltimore expects to restore port access to normal capacity by the end of May. However, Sand believes importers into the US East Coast could face further disruptions in 2024 due to labor negotiations.

Potential Labor Disruptions

The threat of labor strikes on the East Coast poses significant potential disruption to ocean freight shipping. If no agreement is reached between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance by the contract expiration in September, widespread disruption at US East Coast ports could occur, potentially leading to increased rates for ocean freight container services.

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Source: Xeneta