Automakers face transportation problems after Francis Scott Key bridge collapse

  • Multiple automakers are facing transportation challenges after the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed earlier this week.
  • Traffic at the Port of Baltimore has been suspended until further notice, creating problems for many automakers importing vehicles through this large and busy port.
  • According to Automotive NewsAudi, Bentley, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Lamborghini, Mazda, Mercedes, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and Volvo depend on the port to import, export and ship parts.

Multiple automakers are facing transportation challenges on America’s East Coast following the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, which left six people missing and presumed dead. The collapse occurred after a 948-foot container ship collided with the bridge, bringing it down almost immediately. On Tuesday, after the collapse, the Port of Baltimore said vessel traffic in and out of the port would be suspended until further notice, although trucks inside port terminals could still be processed.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses after being hit by a cargo ship

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Vehicles leave the port in Baltimore after the incident on Tuesday, March 26.

The closure of the port has created a logistical headache for many automakers that use the area to import vehicles into the United States. Most major auto manufacturers use this location to import and export vehicles and parts.

A report from Automotive News notes that Volkswagen and BMW are two examples of automakers that will be least affected because their terminals are located east of the bridge and remain accessible. Others are not so lucky, the newspaper said, and are being forced to find solutions until things return to normal.

“This is a terrible tragedy, and our condolences go out to those injured and still missing in Baltimore,” said John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a firm that represents Ford, GM, Toyota and Volkswagen, among the automakers. other large vehicles. in the U.S. “It’s too early to say what impact this incident will have on the auto business, but there will certainly be disruption. Baltimore is the No. 1 auto port in the U.S., and we are in contact with federal officials about help them understand the scale of automotive operations there.”

Last year, private and public terminals within the Port of Baltimore handled 847,158 cars and light trucks. That’s more than any other port within the United States. “It’s a big port with a lot of flow through it, so it’s going to have an impact,” John Lawler, Ford’s CFO, said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV. “We will work on solutions. We will have to divert parts to other ports along the East Coast or elsewhere in the country.”

Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dimitris Psillakis told CNBC that not enough time has passed to gather an accurate picture. “It’s too early to see the effects,” Psillakis told Money Movers. “The situation is still developing, so we will do our best to make sure we find ways to supply vehicles to the market. But it is still too early to judge.” He also said the Baltimore port is one of four U.S. distribution centers the company uses for vehicles coming from Germany.

A spokesman for General Motors said about it Detroit Free Press that the automaker is working with its logistics providers to find shipping options at other ports and that GM does not expect major disruptions to its shipping operations.

Like GM, many of the automakers affected by the Baltimore port traffic shutdown say they expect minimal impact. But the extent of the disruptions likely won’t be known for some time yet, as with the supply chain issues that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Jack Fitzgerald’s love of cars stems from his still unwavering addiction to Formula 1.
After a brief stint as a detailer for a local dealer group in college, he knew he needed a more permanent way to drive all the new cars he couldn’t afford and decided to pursue a career in writing. of cars. Chasing his college professors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he was able to travel around Wisconsin looking for stories in the automotive world before landing his dream job at Car and Driver. His new goal is to delay the inevitable demise of his 2010 Volkswagen Golf.

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