Contact Us

Army Corps Of Engineers Hopes To Open Limited Access To Baltimore Port By May

The Army Corps of Engineers has developed a timeline to restore Baltimore’s port access to normal capacity in a few weeks after a container ship crashed into and destroyed the Francis Key Scott Bridge March 26.

The USACE Baltimore District plans to open a limited-access channel to the Port of Baltimore by the end of April, according to a news release. The channel will allow ships moving vehicles and farm equipment to use the port.

A cargo ship docked at the Port of Baltimore

“Thanks to the exhaustive work of the Unified Command during the last two weeks, including underwater surveys and detailed structural analysis of the wreckage, we’ve developed a better understanding of the immense and complex work that lies ahead,” USACE Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon said in the release.

The port’s closure cut off one of the main shipping channels for vehicles into and out of the U.S. The Port of Baltimore handled $80B in foreign cargo in 2023, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said at a press conference after the bridge collapse.

Since the collapse, which killed six, a response team has worked to test the waters for toxic waste and other issues. Removing the wreckage of the bridge and the ship is the next step to reopening the port.

The Port of Baltimore is the 10th-busiest in the nation when it is in full service.  The USACE plans to reopen the permanent federal navigation channel by the end of May, restoring port access to normal capacity.

But these plans could still be hindered, slowing down the timeline, Spellmon said.

“These are ambitious timelines that may still be impacted by significant adverse weather conditions or changes in the complexity of the wreckage,” he said. “We are working quickly and safely to clear the channel and restore full service at this port that is so vital to the nation. At the same time, we continue to keep faith with the families of the missing and are working with our partners to help locate and recover their loved ones.”

Extended reduced usage of the port could have knock-on effects for the city's industrial real estate.

“We may see under-utilization and available space sub-leased or potential lease terminations and thus increased availability and lower asking rents,” CBRE Managing Director of Supply Chain Advisory Joe Dunlap said in an email to Bisnow last week.