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US automakers rerouting ships from Baltimore following bridge collapse

U.S. automakers said they will reroute shipments after the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed early Tuesday morning.

Cargo ship Dali, which was headed to Sri Lanka, slammed into a bridge support after losing power around 1:30 a.m., which appeared to cause the bridge to collapse. The ship was leaving the Port of Baltimore, one of the busiest ports in the U.S.

Now, automakers and shipping companies say they need to reroute cargo and shipping routes as they wait for the bridge to be rebuilt and the port to reopen. The port is the top port for vehicle shipments in the U.S., according to the Maryland Port Administration.

Ford told The Hill in a statement that “where workarounds are necessary in the short term, our team has already secured shipping alternatives.”

General Motors also said in a statement that it will need to reroute some vehicle shipments due to the incident.

“Our thoughts are with those who were affected and the Baltimore community. We expect the situation to have minimal impact to our operations. We are working to re-route any vehicle shipments to other ports.”

The American Trucking Association expects there will be shipping delays, telling The Hill that nearly 4,900 trucks cross the bridge each day. Trucks that carry hazardous materials will now need to go through approximately 30 miles of detours around Baltimore because they are not allowed to use the city’s tunnels, according to spokesperson Jessica Gail.

“This will add significant cost in time, fuel and delays for trucks traveling through the region, on top of the disruption that a closure of the Port of Baltimore will inflict on our economy. We urge state and federal government agencies to swiftly target appropriate resources to open the port and replace this bridge as quickly as possible,” she said.

President Biden said two of the eight people who were on the bridge have been rescued, with search and rescue efforts underway for the rest of the victims. He also vowed to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge in remarks Tuesday.

“It’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge, and I expect the Congress to support my effort,” Biden said at the White House. “This is going to take some time, but the people of Baltimore can count on us though to stick with them at every step of the way until the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt.”

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