Updated April 5, 2024, 12:58 p.m. CST

Summary of Updates

Latest Update:

April 11, 2024

AGCO CEO: Few Customers Will Be Impacted

AGCO CEO Eric Hansotia told Progressive Farmer in an April 10 report that few, if any, of its customers will be impacted by the Baltimore Port's closure. 

"In terms of how it impacts AGCO or our farmers, so far, what we're seeing is it will be quite moderate. We've been able to reroute shipments to other assembly centers," Hansotia said. "We (have) inventory in the field for product, so (few, if any) customers are going to be impacted."

Kip Eideberg, senior vice president, government and industry relations for the Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers said in the same report that when one port is out of commission, other modes of transportation, such as trucking, start to see cascading effects.

"It's easier to transport apparel (by truck) than (it is to transport) a combine harvester," he said. "We're already seeing major backups on thoroughfares along the East Coast I-95 corridor. Until the port is opened, the infrastructure around the Port of Baltimore (and around Baltimore) is going to be stressed."

April 5, 2024

Claas Exec Comments on Redirecting Shipments from Baltimore Port

Claas Senior Vice President of the Americas Eric Raby told Ag Equipment Intelligence in an April 4 interview that the company had a shipment of forage harvesters and tractors destined for Baltimore that it has since redirected. Most of these machines were bound for dealers. Raby stated the company is currently seeing 5-7 day delays on equipment deliveries, though he added its improving "more rapidly than we first thought it would."

Raby confirmed Claas had diverted at least one ship to the Port of Halifax in Nova Scotia.

April 5, 2024

Port of Baltimore to See Limited Access by End of April

According to a press release from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), engineers have determined a tentative timeline for the restoration for safe navigation in and out of the Port of Baltimore.

Expectations are for a limited access channel 280 feet wide and 35 feet deep to open in the Port of Baltimore by the end of April. This channel would support one-way traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore for barge container service and some roll on/roll off vessels that move automobiles and farm equipment to and from the port.

USACE engineers are aiming to reopen the permanent, 700-foot-wide by 50-foot-deep federal navigation channel by the end of May, restoring port access to normal capacity.

April 4, 2024

Analyst Says Baltimore Port to Likely Re-Open End of June

Alexander Jones, research analyst at Interact Analysis, said in an April 3 article for IVT that, when factoring in realistic setbacks, the Port of Baltimore will likely open at the end of June.

"The port of Savannah in Georgia, which was #1 for imports & exports of construction equipment in 2023, should be able to handle the extra traffic generated," said Jones.

April 2, 2024

Baltimore Port Closure Could Mean Equipment Price Increases

The process of shifting the Baltimore port's traffic elsewhere could result in equipment price increases, according to a March 30 report from Farm Progress.

John Schmeiser, chief operating officer of the North American Equipment Dealers Assn., told Farm Progress that the industry will likely be ok in the short term but will have to deal with disruption.

"The longer it takes to find alternate ports and some efficiencies in working with these alternate ports — like trucking or rail to get equipment out — the more potential for negative impact,” he told Farm Progress.

March 28, 2024

Port of Baltimore Closure’s Impact on Ag Equipment Industry

A container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 26, causing it to collapses and suspending all vessel traffic in and out of the port until further notice, according to a statement from the Maryland Transportation Authority. 

The port’s inability to handle imports and exports following the collapse likely could mean shifting traffic to other ports, according to a March 26 report from USA Today. That reshuffling could cause product delivery delays.

Among East Coast ports, Baltimore is the closest to the Midwest and in 2023, according to the Maryland State Archives, ranked first in the nation in handling automobiles, light trucks, farm and construction machinery, handling a record 1.3 million tons of roll on/roll off farm and construction machinery that year.

A Feb. 13 report from DAT Freight & Analytics said Baltimore has become the leading U.S. port for combines, tractors, hay balers and importing excavators and backhoes.

A November 2021 report from The Port of Baltimore said John Deere, Caterpillar and CNH Industrial were among the port’s major roll on/roll off customers, with CNH Industrial shipping 3,500-4,000 units annually from Baltimore to its overseas customers.