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Suspension of Vessel Traffic at Port of Baltimore – Current Status and Potential Impact on Supply Chain Disruptions (Updated April 18, 2024)

Suspension of Vessel Traffic at Port of Baltimore – Current Status and Potential Impact on Supply Chain Disruptions (Updated April 18, 2024)

Created: Thursday, April 18, 2024 - 14:29
Federal & State Resources, General Security and Resilience

April 18, 2024

EPA has updated its webpage monitoring potential supply chain disruptions following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland last month. Utilites are encouraged to review their supply chain dependencies and plan for any potential disruptions to help enhance their operational resilience.

The update notes EPA has not received reports of supply chain disruptions resulting from the bridge collapse that impact water and wastewater systems. However, EPA will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates if there are further developments. The Port of Baltimore also recently released an update stating, “The (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) expects to open a channel 280-feet wide and 35-feet deep by the end of April and reopen the permanent 700-foot wide, 50-foot deep channel by the end of May.” Additionally, the FBI said on Monday it opened a criminal probe into the collapse of the bridge.

Lastly, WaterISAC shared a (U//FOUO) report earlier this week assessing potential supply chain disruptions from the bridge collapse as well as potential malicious activities foreign adversaries could undertake to further undermine U.S. supply chains and interests. Access the EPA webpage here or read more at AP.

March 28, 2024

In response to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this week, EPA created a webpage to monitor potential supply chain disruptions. Utilities can help mitigate the risk of supply chain shocks by understanding their supplier dependencies and planning for disruptions.

Early Tuesday morning, on March 26, a large cargo ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, causing the bridge to collapse into the Patapsco River. The bridge collapse is now blocking cargo ship traffic from accessing the Port of Baltimore. According to EPA, the port is still processing trucks inside of its terminals, but it has suspended inbound and outbound vessel traffic until further notice. It is expected that the port will be out of commission indefinitely. The Port of Baltimore offers the deepest harbor in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and is closer to the Midwest than any other East Coast port. However, it is one of the smallest container ports on the Northeastern seaboard.

Shipping will likely be rerouted to other U.S. ports. It is unclear how this will impact those ports and whether this situation will impact supply chains of chemicals or other critical products needed for water and wastewater treatment and operations. EPA plans to update this webpage as more information becomes available.

Supply chain disruptions can emanate from a variety of contingencies. Therefore, maintaining awareness of disruptions is critical since supply chain challenges can impact a water or wastewater utility’s ability to receive the chemicals or equipment needed to treat or protect water and wastewater. Read more about potential supply chain disruptions at EPA.

To help utilities enhance the resilience of their chemical supply chain, EPA has created multiple free resources which WaterISAC encourages members to access:

To help prepare for potential future supply chain disruptions in general, WaterISAC recommends utilities review EPA’s “Supply Chain Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities.” EPA can also assist utilities with a supply chain resilience assessment. To request additional information about the assessment process, or to indicate interest in participating with an assessment, please email EPA at:

Additionally, WaterISAC encourages utilities to share any supply chain impacts they experience. In addition to the state primacy agency (and any other entity required by regulations), utilities can report a supply chain disruption to EPA at WaterISAC also encourages its members to report supply chain disruptions by emailing or calling (866)H2O-ISAC.