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Port of Baltimore reopens less than 3 months after Key Bridge collapse

Less than three months after a devastating collapse of one of the largest bridges in the country, the Port of Baltimore has reopened in Charm City. Shipping traffic has returned to the Patapsco River and Baltimore Harbor. America's 18th largest port by gross tonnage, the Port of Baltimore has long been vital to the city's economy.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore joined United States Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Director Tom Perez on Wednesday to announce the full reopening of the port, following the reinstatement of the Fort McHenry Federal Channel earlier this week. He delivered the following address:

“After the bridge fell, we laid out four key directives: Bring closure to the families of the victims; clear the full federal channel and fully reopen the Port of Baltimore to vessel traffic; support everyone affected by this crisis – from our workers to our businesses; and rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge. We promised to bring each of these priorities to completion – even though success was never guaranteed,” said Gov. Moore. “By working together, we have achieved the first three of our four directives. But in this administration, we don’t settle for ‘almost.’ We finish the work we start. We can look out onto the Patapsco and see that the Dali is gone and the wreckage has been cleared. But I will not be satisfied until I can look out on the Patapsco River from this spot and see the Key Bridge standing tall again. That is the push. That is the promise. And by moving in partnership, we will make it reality.”

Governor Moore expressed gratitude to the men and women of Unified Command for working around the clock to quickly and safely reopen the 700-foot-wide by 50-foot-deep shipping channel to the Port of Baltimore following the March 26 collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. In only 78 days, Unified Command removed more than 50,000 tons of debris from the Patapsco River, fully restoring the channel, welcoming back global shipping businesses and cruises, and getting Marylanders back to work.

More than 1,500 people from federal, state and local agencies contributed to the reopening of the main shipping channel, including 500 specialists operating dozens of pieces of equipment.

With the full shipping channel now open, the Port of Baltimore’s economic engine is revving up to be stronger than ever. The Port of Baltimore’s public terminals directly support 8,000 workers, including longshoremen and truckers. Each day the port’s economic impact represents $192 million or more than $70 billion a year, representing 13% of Maryland’s gross domestic product.

"What happened that early morning of March 26th was horrific. What happened next was inspiring,” said United States Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “As of this week the channel is open, the ships are moving, the terminals are operating, and this great American port is full steam ahead."

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