More on the Economic Impact of the Collapse of the FSK Bridge

This article by Noi Mahoney at FreightWaves provides more insight into the economic impact of the collapse of the bridge in Baltimore:

The port is the deepest harbor in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, with five public and 12 private terminals. It handled over $80 billion worth of cargo in 2023. It serves more than 50 ocean carriers making nearly 1,800 annual port calls.

The port generated nearly $3.3 billion in total personal income and supports 15,330 direct jobs and 139,180 jobs connected to the port, according to state data.


According to recent data from Implan, the port’s 15,000-plus direct employees could lose an estimated $275 million in labor income if container operations are down for a month.

Implan is a Huntersville, North Carolina-based economic software and analysis firm.

“Before we even performed the analysis, we knew this event would have a negligible loss to the U.S. gross domestic product,” Candi Clouse, Implan’s vice president of customer success and education services, told FreightWaves. “The logistics and shipping will just shift to another U.S. port temporarily. However, the potential impact to Maryland is something to keep an eye on. Even if the port is only closed for 30 days, Maryland would be at risk for losing $550 million to its gross domestic product and $1 billion loss in total value of goods and services.”

So, although the port is characterized as one of Baltimore’s primary economic drivers (after Johns Hopkins), the collapse of the bridge, while serious to Maryland, is unlikely to have major national impact. That further raises the question of why other than politics the federal government should bear the entire cost of rebuilding the bridge as President Biden has pledged.

6 comments… add one
  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Just to point this out. Maryland’s GDP is $518.7 billion. A loss of $550 million is 0.1% of GDP, barely noticable and that’s before the increased activity from lawyers and reconstruction — which will raise GDP.

    “That further raises the question of why other than politics”….

    Its only politics. I would expect the same from any other President.

  • steve Link

    It’s an election year.

    What’s the loss calculation for traffic going across the bridge? Traffic in that area was pretty bad at times even with the bridge.


  • Andy Link

    Related, I found this guy’s YouTube channel, and he’s had some pretty good—and increasingly popular—content on this situation.

    Here, he talks about the contracts that have already been made for removing the ship and debris and the need for unity of coordination and command, which is not yet apparent.

  • Good video. Recommended.

    Bottom line: there is unlikely to be a good plan or execution of one.

  • TastyBits Link

    Ultimately, it will be seen as a Christmas tree, and everybody will want to hang an ornament(s) and/or lights on it. Furthermore, the add-ons will exceed your wildest expectations, and their justifications will seem insane.

    “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

  • steve Link

    Yes, they need someone in charge. That may already be determined but not apparent. Guess we will find out. Since this is a rare accident not obvious who should be in charge. Anyway, as a blueprint they might want to follow what we did in PA when a section of I-95 collapsed. It was predicted that it would take many months to years to have it functional again but they had it functional in 12 days. They chose a lead contractor the next day, they put out no bid contracts, they suspended environmental rules. While the governor was nominally in charge they stationed the state transportation secretary on site so stuff could be signed off on immediately. They also had federal guarantees for payment though the state ended up paying.

    Of note, the first large crane is already on site.


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