Readout of USDOT’s Multimodal Freight Office Meeting with East Coast Port Leaders

Monday, April 22, 2024

WASHINGTON – On Friday, April 19, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) convened a meeting with the National Economic Council and leaders from ports up and down the East Coast to continue efforts to mitigate supply chain disruptions and coordinate on the response to the suspension of vessel traffic at the Port of Baltimore after the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. This convening was one in a series of meetings between DOT and East Coast port leaders to keep lines of communication open and share the impacts that the traffic suspension in Baltimore has had on other ports in the region.  

DOT began the meeting by providing an update on the Army Corps of Engineers’ timeline to reopen the Port of Baltimore, and shared with leaders that the reopening is still on schedule, with a 35-foot channel expected to be open by the end of April, and the entire channel expected to be reopened by the end of May, when all vessels will be able to access the Port again.  

East Coast port leaders explained how operations at their ports have been impacted by increased throughput from vessels that otherwise would have gone through Baltimore. Those ports have so far been able to accommodate the increase in container, breakbulk, dry bulk and RoRo traffic, and have worked to make sure Maryland-based truck drivers can access their facilities. 

The Biden-Harris Administration continues to convene not only port leaders, but also labor and industry stakeholders to advance collaboration at all levels in order to mitigate the impact of the disaster on workers and regional, national, and global supply chains – an effort borne out of lessons learned and systems developed during COVID-driven disruptions. Those efforts include monitoring container volume shifts and terminal utilization to better anticipate the movement of goods and capacity needs through DOT’s innovative data-sharing partnership FLOW, which launched in March 2022.    

The meeting builds on previous convenings related to the disruptions caused by the bridge collapse and Port of Baltimore temporary stoppage, including: 

  • DOT hosted several a listening session with truck drivers, trucking companies, trade associations, and other supply chain stakeholders on the impact of impacts of the Port of Baltimore’s partial closure. 
  • DOT staff met with FLOW participants on changes in inbound container traffic and convened East Coast ports on cargo diversion from the Port of Baltimore. 
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture, DOT and NEC met with nearly two dozen agriculture and food industry stakeholders to understand the impacts of the port’s partial closure for agricultural supply chains in the region.  
  • Secretary Pete Buttigieg and NEC Director Lael Brainard held a meeting with over 100 leaders from across the supply chain following the suspension of Port of Baltimore vessel traffic.  
  • SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, joined by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Kweisi Mfume, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, convened a meeting with several impacted small business owners across multiple sectors to hear about the challenges they are facing and to discuss the availability of U.S. Small Business Administration aid to help address economic impacts. 
  • The National Economic Council has also repeatedly convened the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to continue coordination of the Biden-Harris Administration’s response to supply chain impacts. 


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