Ships hit bridges and we all pay UDPATE May 12 2024




Last month in the state of Maryland, a huge cargo ship lost power and plowed into a key connecting bridge which subsequently collapsed and blocked the port of Baltimore and killing at least half a dozen people.

Reminding readers of last week’s article discussing how the lack of attentiveness continually costs us both money, time and, unfortunately at times, precious lives, the tragic accident of a ship containing 4700 cargo containers is a stark example of a costly mistake.

Considering the ship was capable of carrying 10,000 containers, I suppose we are fortunate it was not filled to capacity.

It didn’t matter. This mid-sized sea monster, and yes there are larger ships, lost complete power and hit one of the bridges support structures and the entire bridge collapsed in a heap of twisted metal. A source of mine said the cause was bad fuel taken on overseas which had killed the engine multiple times in port but this is unsubstantiated at this point in time.

This is yet another example of how somebody, or many somebodies, failed to do something the way it was supposed to be done and now we have a big mess to clean up, a host of heart broken families and likely another reason to believe inflation may get a big boost as a result.

And yes, although most of the cargo should be able to be salvaged, the delay to shipping by the blockage of this major east coast port will no doubt add to the cost of something to somebody.

Onboard was 41,000 tons of fertilizer bound for other ports of call, and being spring, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Some of the fertilizer made it into the waterways of the Patapsco River where the accident occurred and an ecological disaster may be in the making

If you view photos of the aftermath, it’s obvious it will be weeks before the ship is offloaded and cleared from the scene. The Port of Baltimore is no small potatoes when it comes to ports. It ranks among the top 20 U.S. ports in terms of tonnage and container handling, is the 10th largest for dry bulk, and is a major hub for the import and export of motorized vehicles. The accident blocked all of its ports except one.

Washington has released 60 million in funds to help with the recovery and cleanup efforts with likely more to follow. Gigantic cranes, able to lift hundreds of tons at a clip, are hurriedly moving into the area.

The disassembly of both the ship and the wreck is a slow, tedious and dangerous process. The bridge is in pieces, twisted metal everywhere, and workers have to be extra careful, both for their own safety and the safety of the waters of the Patapsco.

Much like a Jenga set, any wrong move could cause more pieces to plunge uncontrollably into the turbulent waters, causing even more damage, making the cleanup even harder.

Although there are ships that were waiting to get into the Port of Baltimore and now have to be rerouted, more ships are trapped up river and now can’t get out until the waterway is cleared. According to the Department of Transportation, there are 3 bulk carriers, 2 general cargo ships, 1 vehicle carrier, 1 tanker, 4 Ready Reserve Force vessels, and the offending cargo ship, the Dali, now trapped behind the fallen bridge

No doubt product, whatever it is all those ships are carrying, or were going to carry, will be delayed, and some product may spoil depending on what is where.

The rerouting of incoming ships will also be costly and time consuming, and expected to last for literally months. Rebuilding of the bridge so cars may once again cross will likely be a very long time from now, adding even more costs as a result of the wreck.

It’s difficult to ascertain just exactly what the costs will be to us living here on the West Coast, or indeed, to all Americans when all is said and done.

One thing is clear, it certainly won’t help prices to come down any.

“Watching the markets so you don’t have to”                


This article expresses the opinion of Marc Cuniberti and is not meant as investment advice, or a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, nor represents the opinion of any bank, investment firm or RIA, nor this media outlet, its staff, members or underwriters. Mr. Cuniberti holds a B.A. in Economics with honors, 1979, and California Insurance License #0L34249. His insurance agency is BAP INC. insurance services.  Email:



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