Readout from Biden-Harris Administration’s Call with Truckers on Impacts of Port of Baltimore’s Partial Closure

Readout from Biden-Harris Administration’s Call with Truckers on Impacts of Port of Baltimore’s Partial Closure

Monday, April 8, 2024

On Friday, April 5th, 2024 the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Economic Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Small Business Administration met with stakeholders in the trucking sector to discuss ongoing efforts to mitigate challenges caused by the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

The National Economic Council provided a readout of the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government effort to provide immediate response, support affected workers and small businesses, reopen the port, rebuild the bridge, and stand with the people of Baltimore. Last night, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a tentative timeline for reopening shipping channels. 

The American Trucking Associations, Owner–Operator Independent Drivers Association, and the Maryland Motor Truck Association applauded the Biden-Harris Administration’s quick efforts to provide regulatory relief to truckers through Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) extension of the emergency declaration that provides targeted hours of service relief to drivers and carriers responding to the emergency. Regional trucking associations gave updates on how truck drivers are running alternative routes due to the suspension of cargo vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore.  Participants also discussed issues regarding state trucking waivers, roll-on/roll-off cargo movement, and the need for additional truck parking.

The Biden-Harris Administration continues to convene port, labor, and industry stakeholders to advance collaboration at all levels in order to mitigate the impact of the disaster on workers and regional, national, and global supply chains – an effort borne of the lessons learned during COVID-driven disruptions. Those efforts include monitoring container volume shifts and terminal utilization to better anticipate the movement of goods and capacity needs through DOT’s innovative data-sharing partnership FLOW, which launched in March 2022.  

The meeting with trucking stakeholders today builds on previous convenings related to the disruptions caused by the bridge collapse and Port of Baltimore temporary stoppage, including:

  • Last week, DOT staff met with FLOW participants on changes in inbound container traffic and convened East Coast ports on cargo diversion from the Port of Baltimore.
  • Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, DOT and NEC met with nearly two dozen agriculture and food industry stakeholders to understand the impacts of the port’s partial closure for agricultural supply chains in the region. 
  • Secretary Pete Buttigieg and NEC Director Lael Brainard held a meeting with over 100 leaders from across the supply chain following the suspension of Port of Baltimore vessel traffic. 
  • SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, joined by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Kweisi Mfume, and Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, convened a meeting with several impacted small business owners across multiple sectors to hear about the challenges they are facing and to discuss the availability of U.S. Small Business Administration aid to help address economic impacts.
  • The National Economic Council has also repeatedly convened the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to continue coordination of the Biden-Harris Administration’s response to supply chain impacts.

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