Baltimore Port to Resume Operations by April, Full Recovery by May

According to the U.S. Army Corps Engineers, a new channel at the Port of Baltimore is set to open by the end of April. This will allow commercial shipping to resume, which has been blocked due to a collapsed bridge. The engineers further added that by the end of May, full access to the port will be restored.

Commercial shipping to and through Baltimore Port had lost access as of March 26th after a fully loaded container ship Dali lost power and rammed into a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, killing six road workers and causing the highway bridge to tumble into the Patapsco River.

The Army Corps, as part of a collaborative effort responding to the Baltimore disaster, disclosed their strategy a day before President Joe Biden’s scheduled visit. They outlined plans to make the channel navigable for roll-on/roll-off vessels transporting automobiles and farm equipment within four weeks.

The Port of Baltimore, known for handling the highest volume of autos, light trucks, and farm and construction machinery in the United States, according to Maryland state records, has seen most of its traffic halted since the incident. Some terminal operations outside the affected area have resumed, but the main traffic flow remains disrupted.

In response to the situation, two auxiliary channels suitable for emergency vessels, tugs, and barges have been opened this week. However, these channels are too shallow for larger cargo ships, requiring a depth of 35 feet. The Army Corps plans to open a limited-access channel, 280 feet wide and 35 feet deep, to the Port of Baltimore by the end of April. By the end of May, they aim to fully restore port access with a wider and deeper navigation channel.

Salvage efforts are underway to remove steel bridge debris from atop the stranded vessel and clear the wreckage that has fallen into the harbor. Tragically, within this debris lie the bodies of four of the six highway workers who lost their lives in the incident.

To support these recovery efforts, the Biden administration has allocated an initial $60 million in emergency funding. President Biden has also expressed his intent to seek congressional funding for the complete rebuilding of the bridge.

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