Fruit Arrivals at Port of Philly Not Expected to be Affected by Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Fruit Arrivals at Port of Philly Not Expected to be Affected by Baltimore Bridge Collapse

PhilaPort is known for being a prime destination for imported fruits and this situation is not expected to be negatively impacted due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore after being hit by a ship on March 26. It resulted in the deaths of 6 people, and widespread speculation over its impact on other East Coast ports.

The Port of Baltimore does not handle large produce volumes. However, those ships normally going to Baltimore now have to reroute to other East Coast ports. This raised numerous questions about the capacity to handle the additional cargo. 

The Port of Philadelphia is a major destination for produce imports in the U.S., and has already received additional ships and will continue to receive more. 

PhilaPort has experience with the type of cargo being diverted and is confident it will be able to handle it, without affecting other operations.

At PhilaPort, 54% of the containers handled are refrigerated, establishing itself as the go-to port for produce.

The Delaware River port community encompasses three separate entities, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Among the three, they account for $6.6 billion in total food imports, with fruits and vegetables accounting for more than $4 billion of that total. 

Both New York and Virginia, have larger ports capable of providing the additional offload service, meaning those imports don’t have to be delivered to Philadelphia. 

For the automobile industry, one of the largest categories for the Port of Baltimore, it is not expecting a big flood of additional cars. 

The Port of Philly gives priority to fruits and vegetables, receiving large shipments from the west coast of South America. 

PhilaPort expects no negative impacts on its produce shipments from any diversion noting it has dealt with cargo surges in the past.

Philadelphia received its largest ship ever, the CMA-CGM Marco Polo, a 16,000 TEU ship recently. The model is the largest type of container ship that can land in the U.S. East Coast. 

The ship was scheduled to go through the Suez Canal and pick up clementines in Morocco. However, the conflict in the Red Sea meant the ship had to go south around South Africa.

With the opening of this seasonal service, the port is optimistic it will be receiving a lot more fruit in the future. 

Since this route starts in China, it should open opportunities for frozen fruits and vegetables from East Asia in the future.

Additionally, members of the Cosco Shipping Lines company intend to start a new service from the west coast of South America to Philadelphia.

The details of this new route have yet to be revealed , but the port expects the service to start soon. 

It very well could ship from Chile, Peru, and Ecuador with fruits up to Philadelphia. 

This means now the top 5 global shipping companies will have operations in the Port of Philly.