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Fears of disruption to global supply chains after Baltimore bridge crash

Fears have been raised of significant disruption to global supply chains after a container ship crashed into a bridge in the US city of Baltimore.

The ship, named the Dali, hit a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the early hours of Tuesday morning, causing it to collapse.

The bridge spanned the entrance to the Port of Baltimore, the busiest port in the US for car exports and the ninth-busiest overall.

Six people are missing presumed dead.

The US Coast Guard has suspended its search and rescue operation and begun a recovery mission. The focus is now turning to the investigation into what went wrong, with a team of transportation safety experts hoping to board the stricken ship and recover its data recorder.

Officials have said that maritime traffic through the port - which last year amounted to more than 47 million tonnes of foreign cargo - will be suspended "until further notice".

Speaking to the BBC, Marco Forgione, director general at The Institute of Export and International Trade, which represents UK businesses involved in international trade, said the suspension would have a "significant ripple effect on global supply chains".

"Over 750,000 cars and vehicles transited through Baltimore in the last year," he told Radio 4's The World Tonight.

"Those are major US brands and UK and EU brands, from General Motors and Ford to [Jaguar Land Rover], Nissan, Fiat, and Audi.

"In addition, Baltimore is a significant exporter of liquified natural gas [LNG] and that has implications for the UK and the EU.


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