Mike Pearson takes a look at the impact on industries after the shipping accident last week that closed the Baltimore harbor.

April 4, 2024

Mike Pearson gives listeners an update on the Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster and the potential impacts on industries.

The Port of Baltimore is critical for exports. According to the latest stats, 52.3 million tons of cargo sailed out of the port in 2023 which was valued at $80 Billion.

Since the disaster, it's estimated that the port is losing $15 million in losses which underscores the need for solutions in fixing the problem.

The Port of Baltimore led the country in farm and equipment exports. A total of 10 percent of the value of exports came from farm and construction equipment in 2023.

John Schmeiser, COO of the North American Dealers Association says the impact is hurting the stability of the industry potentially leading to price increases and equipment shortages.

Jacob Lloyd, of Sterling Farm Equipment hopes the industry will adapt without significant impacts.

Meanwhile, equipment is being rerouted to Philadelphia, Pa, Norfolk, Virginia and New Jersey.

There have been additional costs and logistical challenges beyond finished goods at the port. It also acted as the exit points for raw commodities too.

One of them is sugar. Baltimore is home to Domino Sugar and home to the 115 year-old refinery. It's the oldest in the western hemisphere.

It was also home to soybean exports with 300,000 tons being exported every year. However, those left in containers and not directly on ships.

Dismantling the bridge remnants began this week and ideas for a new one are being floated.

The disaster serves as a reminder how fragile the infrastructure in the USA is and how when something goes wrong, it has a domino effect on agriculture.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

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