The Port of Baltimore, a major national shipping point for farm equipment equipment and commodities including sugar, has fully reopened for commerce following the March 26 collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore were on-site at the port to officially announce the full reopening Wednesday afternoon. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), designated by President Joe Biden to lead restoration efforts, said in a release the channel was restored to its original operational dimensions for commercial maritime transit Monday evening. The cargo ship that hit the bridge and brought it down was hauled away last month.

At the press conference, Moore highlighted the importance of the port for jobs and trade. 

“Not just because the port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in this country, not just because the port manages tens of billions of dollars in cargo every single year including everything from sugar, to cement, to lumber,” Moore said. “But because importantly there are over 15,000 who depend of the Port of Baltimore to pay their bills.” 

In all, crews removed about 50,000 tons of bridge wreckage from the Patapsco River, the Corps said. The U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving helped with the restoration. 

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At its peak, the Unified Command of six agencies led response efforts among about 56 federal, state and local agencies, represented by over 1,500 individual responders. 

“We’ve cleared the Fort McHenry Federal Channel for safe transit. USACE will maintain this critical waterway as we have for the last 107 years,” said Col. Estee Pinchasin, Baltimore District commander, in a press release. 

Wreckage removed from the channel will be transported to Sparrows Point for follow-on processing. 

“The partnership between federal, state, and local governments, labor leaders like the longshoremen who keep this hub running, and the business community shows what we can get done when we work together,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Wednesday. 

The bridge collapse and subsequent port closure highlighted vulnerabilities in the food supply chain and shipping infrastructure, Agri-Pulse previously reported. 

Sugar is the top commodity moved through the port, with about 600,000 metric tons imported in 2023, according to USDA data. Over 300,000 tons of soybeans were exported from the port that same year. 

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