Podcast: Examining the far-reaching impacts of the Baltimore bridge collapse

Podcast: Examining the far-reaching impacts of the Baltimore bridge collapse

April 5, 2024
In this episode of Great Question: A Manufacturing Podcast, our panel of experts discusses how the effects of the bridge collapse will ripple across the industry.

Josh Fisher is editor in chief of FleetOwner, and he covers everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, autonomous trucking, and emerging transportation technology. Rod Sutton is the editorial lead of Construction Equipment, which focuses on helping managers of heavy equipment and trucks improve their performance. Anna Smith is the news editor for IndustryWeek, and she reports on a host of supply chain issues. Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and keeps an eye on health and safety issues happening throughout the industry. Ryan Curtiss is digital editor for Roads & Bridges, which reports on the road and bridge construction industry in North America. These industry professionals recently spoke with IndustryWeek editor in chief Robert Schoenberger about the March 26 collapse of Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge and how this tragic incident will impact industry from a multitude of different angles.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast:

IW: Let's talk a little bit more about the business impact of this. One of the big questions we have is on supply chains. Anna, you've written a lot about the fact that global shipping is a little snarled right now, between problems with the low water in the Panama Canal and the challenges getting shipments through the Red Sea with the attacks on shipping there. Where does this fit into all that now? Now we have yet another challenge facing the shipping industry.

AS: So, it's kind of fitting into this overall narrative I'm seeing now that a regular, stable supply chain is something that doesn't really exist anymore. Specifically for Baltimore, it’s one of the ten largest ports in the U.S. in terms of dollar value of the cargo. Obviously, everyone's heard it's going to have an impact mostly on the auto industry. It's the number one port in the U.S. for automobile imports and exports. Also on the vehicle side, they handle a lot of farm and construction machinery and equipment. Then, on a different side which might cause some ripple effects, it handles things from the food industry, like sugar, that can have, like I said, ripple effects upstream. Also, aluminum and other types of metals that go through there are going to have another ripple effects for metals manufacturing or anything from home building. Also on the home building side, there are different materials like plaster, plywood, things like that, that are going to disrupt any kind of construction. So home construction and building construction are going to have a similar constraint to the auto industry that might not be talked about as much.

About the Author

Robert Schoenberger

Robert Schoenberger has been writing about manufacturing technology in one form or another since the late 1990s. He began his career in newspapers in South Texas and has worked for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland where he spent more than six years as the automotive reporter. In 2013, he launched Today's Motor Vehicles, a magazine focusing on design and manufacturing topics within the automotive and commercial truck worlds. He joined IndustryWeek in late 2021.

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