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Baltimore bridge collapse and port closure could affect Florida ports

'This has so many ripple effects across the community,' David Desharnais says
Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 26, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Following the container ship crash and bridge collapse in Baltimore, WPTV is looking into whether the incident will affect shipments coming in to Florida ports.

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board held a press conference to discuss the aftermath of a 985 feet long and 157 feet wide container ship that crashed into a four-lane bridge in Baltimore.

"This is a team effort. There are a lot of entities in the command post all focused on search and rescue, as they should be," Jennifer Homendy, NTSB chair, said.

Homendy said the circumstances surrounding the crash and bridge collapse are still under investigation.

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Jennifer Homendy of the NTSB talks about how long the investigation may take.

The number of injuries or possible casualties is unknown at this time.

"There's not a lot of information I can share right now and I know there's a lot of information that's been circulating," Homendy said. "The NTSB doesn't speculate. We provide facts."

The collapse closed one of the busiest ports in the United States.

"It's a tragic day. You wake up in the morning and you see that a very important roadway is not there anymore," David Desharnais, President and COO of Rekor Systems based in Maryland, said.

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David Desharnais, President and COO of Rekor Systems, talks about Baltimore bridge collapse and how it will impact traffic and transportation.

Desharnais' company provides real-time roadway information using AI to help track changing traffic patterns.

"The effect on Maryland is enormous. This is a massive transportation route for hazardous materials and trucks and it's right in the port that's the largest port in the United States. It's a big deal," Desharnais said. "What about the traffic and rerouting? This has so many ripple effects across the community."

WPTV reached out to the Port of Everglades, Port of Miami and the Jacksonville Port Authority to see if any of those ripple effects will affect shipments coming to Florida on a container ship.

JAXPORT said the following in a statement:

"Our port community stands with our friends and colleagues at the Port of Baltimore and we are ready to assist in any way we can. JAXPORT has received calls from ocean carriers and cargo customers regarding possible cargo diversions and our team is working with tenants and service providers to determine how we can accommodate them."

Port of Everglades told WPTV it is too early to tell if the incident will affect them.