The main shipping channel into Baltimore’s port has reopened to its original size after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on March 26. The collapse had blocked most maritime traffic into the harbor, severely affecting the Port of Baltimore, which is a major center for automotive and agricultural equipment. The channel’s reopening follows a significant cleanup operation in which approximately 50,000 tons of debris were removed from the river. The collapse occurred when a container ship lost power and hit one of the bridge’s supporting columns, resulting in fatalities among the roadwork crew on the bridge. The port remained mostly non-operational for weeks while the wreckage was cleared, with portions of the channel being reopened gradually to allow some commercial traffic to resume.

On May 20, the cargo ship Dali, which had been stuck in the wreckage, was refloated and returned to port. After this, the channel was initially reopened to a limited width and depth, with full two-way traffic resuming following additional clearance work. The closure of the port had significant economic impacts, affecting many workers and small businesses. Local and state authorities accelerated efforts to restore normal operations to mitigate these effects. The reopening involved collaboration among numerous federal, state, and local agencies, with around 500 specialists and a large fleet of equipment participating in the salvage efforts. Col. Estee Pinchasin, Baltimore district commander for the Army Corps of Engineers, expressed pride in the coordinated effort and acknowledged the families of the victims, highlighting the human cost of the incident. Investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI are ongoing, focusing on the ship’s power failures, and officials aim to rebuild the bridge by 2028.