Updated April 22, 2024, 3:26 p.m. CST

Summary of Updates

Latest Update:

April 24, 2024

Ag Equipment Could Move Through Port of Baltimore by the End of April

According to an April 23 report from Farm Progress, Kevin Atticks, secretary of agriculture, says the current goal is to open a 35-foot-deep channel in the Port of Baltimore by the end of the month. This channel would be deep enough to re-open the flow of roll on/roll off equipment, including ag equipment. 

April 22, 2024

Baltimore Port Closure Could Reshape Future Trade Routes

Among the long-term impacts of the Baltimore Port closure could be a shift in port preferences and future trade routes, according to an April 19 report from Successful Farming. The article from Casey Seymour, host of the Moving Iron podcast, stated the long-term impacts of the port's closure ultimately remain uncertain:

"The closure of the Baltimore port disrupts established logistics chains, compelling exporters and importers to reassess their strategies and explore new avenues for transporting goods," the report said. "The prolonged closure could have profound implications for cargo flow and distribution networks, potentially reshaping future trade routes and port preferences. Until the Baltimore port fully resumes operations, businesses must navigate a landscape fraught with uncertainties, balancing the need for operational continuity with the challenges posed by the ongoing disruption."

April 17, 2024

Baltimore Equipment Shipments Going to Virginia, Georgia, Nova Scotia

When asked in a recent Ag Equipment Intelligence survey, ag equipment manufacturers listed New York, Norfolk, Halifax, Brunswick, Galveston, Charleston and Savannah as ports they were using instead of Baltimore. 

In that same survey, 94% of respondents (including dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and distributors) said they believed the Baltimore port closure would lead to delayed deliveries. 56% said it will lead to increased freight charges as other ports receive more traffic, and 22% said it will lead to equipment price increases.

One responding supplier said, “The supply chain will make sure contingencies are in place for port disruptions and may look at sourcing from North American suppliers.”

One manufacturer said, “Manufacturers will take a hard look at distribution practices and implement actions to diversify where and how the importation of goods are handled.”      

April 17, 2024

Baltimore Port Closure to Impact High Horsepower Tractor Imports & Exports

The latest episode of On The Record covered how the port's closure could have a notable impact on importing high horsepower tractors specifically

You can watch the full episode below.

April 16, 2024

Baltimore Port Closure Likely to Impact LS Tractor

In a recent Youtube video, former dealer Mike Wiles (known as Tractor Mike) broke down some of the impacts the industry might feel from the Baltimore Port closure, citing LS Tractor specifically.

"Tractor companies that are either based in Asia, which is Japan or Korea, or sell a lot of product from that region, tend not to use the Baltimore port," he said. "They'll use a port on the West coast or the Houston port or a port in the Savannah, Ga., area...Now the exception to that is LS. It's my understanding that LS sources a lot of their tractors for the East and parts of the Midwest from the Baltimore port, so it would impact them."

Wiles added that while Massey Ferguson had used the Baltimore port when he worked at AGCO, Massey Ferguson dealers now tell him most of that activity has shifted to Savannah. 

You can watch the full video below.

April 16, 2024

Minnesota Exported $169 Million in Ag Equipment Through Baltimore in 2023 

North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota sent about $310 million in ag equipment through the Port of Baltimore last year, according to an April 5 report from Red River Farm Network.

“North Dakota in 2021 had about $135 million in exports going through the Port of Baltimore; Minnesota was at $169 million and South Dakota was at $6.8 million,” said American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Betty Resnick. “It’s a really important port in terms of equipment; they had about 1.3 million tons of non-automotive roll-on-roll-off equipment, things like farm equipment and tractors.”

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.