Baltimore bridge collapse fuel supply effect ‘minimal’

  • Market: Oil products
  • 26/03/24

The early-morning collapse of a bridge across the entrance to the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, is likely to have a limited impact on Atlantic coast motor fuel supply, but truck deliveries in the region will be delayed.

"The impact on fuel supply is minimal," fuel supplier Mansfield said today, noting that Baltimore imports most of its refined product by pipeline and not the impacted waterway.

The Francis Scott Key bridge was hit at 1:30am ET today by the 116,851dwt container vessel Dali, on route from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The bridge collapsed into the river after the vessel hit one of its support columns, blocking the Patapsco River.

Fuel wholesaler Global Partners, which operates a Baltimore terminal just west of the collapsed bridge, said it is primarily supplied by pipeline but can take product by barge, ship and rail.

"We believe supply will continue to flow to these markets," Global Partners said today. "However, trucking will be constrained and less efficient."

Trucks will have to take longer routes to deliver fuel, with delays that may last for several months, Mansfield said earlier this morning.

Global Partners would like to see hours of service waivers for trucking in the region to minimize fuel supply disruption to customers.

Kinder Morgan's 269,000 bl Baltimore ethanol terminal, located next to the Global Partners terminal, has faced no impact to operations, the company said today just after 2pm ET.

Rebuilding the bridge could take "several years", fuel markets consultant Don Draizin told Argus. He expects the waterway to open sooner, in perhaps or month or so, with his main concern around trucking given the Colonial pipeline supplies the bulk of refined products in the region.

The Maryland Port Administration told Argus today it does not know how long the port will be closed. Shipping companies are bracing for a closure of at least two weeks, although many expect the clean-up effort could take significantly longer

Port of Baltimore commodity infrastructure

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