6 Ways the Baltimore Bridge Collapse May Affect You

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Francis Scott Key bridge with Baltimore skyline at night
Alexander Briggs / Shutterstock.com

The shocking collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is presumed to have claimed six lives. That is by far the most tragic part of the accident, which occurred when a container ship apparently lost power and smashed into the bridge.

But the loss of the bridge that opened in 1977 could continue to reverberate for months in ways that will ripple across the economy, affecting consumers across the nation. The Port of Baltimore — where the 1.6-mile-long bridge is located — is one of the nation’s most important trade hubs.

Here are some ways the collapsed bridge, which is blocking the mouth of the port, might impact you.

Vehicle delivery

A 2024 Toyota Tundra.
The Global Guy / Shutterstock.com

In 2023, the Port of Baltimore handled more than 847,000 cars and light trucks, a new record. It has been the busiest U.S. port for transport of such vehicles for 13 consecutive years.

Reuters reports that the port is a hub for Nissan, Toyota, GM, Volvo, Jaguar and Volkswagen. The Washington Post says imports of Mazda and Mercedes vehicles also go through the port.

Construction equipment

Farm machinery on a heavy industrial truck semi trailer flatbed
Gorloff-KV / Shutterstock.com

In 2023, 1.3 million tons of farm and construction machinery moved through the Port of Baltimore. That smashed a record of 1 million tons set in 2012.


Domino Sugar refinery, Baltimore.
StockPerfect / Shutterstock.com

The Domino Sugar refinery in Baltimore (pictured) relies on deliveries of raw sugar through the Port of Baltimore. However, The Wall Street Journal reports that the refinery has six to eight weeks’ worth of raw sugar on hand and may not have any disruptions.


Cruise ship
CathyRL / Shutterstock.com

A handful of major cruise lines dock in Baltimore. They include Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. Last year, more than 444,000 individuals cruised out of the port, which was the highest total since 2012 and the third-largest total ever.

Fortunately, the major cruise season doesn’t start until May, which might help mitigate the impact of the bridge collapse on the industry.

Other port delays

Container ship
tonkid / Shutterstock.com

Some ships that were due to pass through Baltimore on their way to other ports may now get hung up because of the bridge collapse. That could impact supply chains and logistics in other markets.

Commute times

Heavy traffic on freeway from Maryland into D.C.
Andrea Izzott / Shutterstock.com

If you travel up and down the Eastern seaboard, prepare for some major delays.

Prior to the collapse, around 35,000 cars crossed the Francis Scott Key Bridge daily. Drivers traveling north or south between major cities such as New York City and Washington, D.C., now face what Reuters characterizes as “the specter of nightmarish commutes for residents for months or even years to come.”

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.