Baltimore closure reroutes container, cruise traffic

  • Market: Freight, Oil products
  • 01/04/24

Container shipping companies and cruise ship operators continue to re-route their vessels following last week's closure of the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, following the deadly collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Container operators say they are rerouting Baltimore-bound traffic to ports including Norfolk, Virginia, and New York.

"Our operating team is already working with ocean carriers whose vessels were due to call Baltimore and offering the capability of our port to discharge cargoes as requested," the Virginia Port Authority said last week.

The Port of Virginia recently widened its shipping channel to accommodate two-way traffic for ultra-large container vessels, like Dali, the vessel that lost power in the early morning hours of 26 March and struck the bridge in Baltimore, bringing it down. Dali called on the Port of Virginia earlier in March and departed there on 22 March on its way to Baltimore.

US cruise ship operators Carnival and Royal Caribbean said they rerouted their vessels to Norfolk. Norwegian Cruise Line has not yet announced rerouting plans and did not respond to a request for a comment.

Carnival, which calls Baltimore home for its ship Legend, said the port change is expected "to have less than $10mn impact on a full year [financial] guidance."

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas and Vision of the Seas and Norwegian's Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun, also call Baltimore their home port.

A temporary alternative channel is being opened in Baltimore to allow some smaller vessels to pass, but it may take weeks or even months to clear debris and reopen the port.


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