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Foreign adversaries could exploit Baltimore Key Bridge collapse: Intelligence report

todayApril 12, 2024

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(BALTIMORE) — The bridge collapse has rerouted $80 million in maritime cargo and trucking and the document said any disruptions at other ports “could have an outsized impact on the flow of goods that is not easily mitigated.”

Baltimore’s Key Bridge, a vital transit and shipping route, collapsed last month after being hit by a cargo ship. Following the disaster, which killed six construction workers, the Port of Baltimore suspended operations, resulting in thousands of job losses.

“Additional supply chain disruptions will be more difficult to overcome since the standard procedure of partially rerouting ad hoc cargo through the Port of Baltimore is no longer feasible,” the document said.

So far, the rerouting of cargo has not significantly impacted the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detect and interdict potentially illicit or high-risk materials, the document said. Any enforcement actions initiated prior to the bridge collapse will be handled at U.S. ports of entry that receive the redirected shipments.

If there are logistical setbacks as a result of the bridge collapse, the intelligence analysts warned U.S. adversaries could exploit them.

“We have not seen indications that adversaries are actively exploiting the incident or related disruptions, but foreign adversaries have used an opportunistic approach to advancing a broad range of security, economic, and other strategic interests following similar US disasters,” the report said.

The Port of Baltimore ranks as the ninth largest port in the United States by trading volume. Last year, the port managed to handle 52.3 tons of foreign cargo.

President Joe Biden has pledged to fully support Baltimore’s rebuilding efforts. He said last week its his “intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstruction of that bridge.”

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