US supply chain task force to discuss Baltimore bridge collapse

By Thomson Reuters Mar 27, 2024 | 1:03 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. federal supply chain task force will meet on Wednesday to assess the Baltimore bridge collapse and port closure, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, adding that the Biden administration did not want financing concerns to hold up bridge reconstruction.

The Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, collapsed on Tuesday after a freight ship crashed into it, leaving six construction workers presumed dead after falling into the frigid water below.

Yellen, speaking on MSNBC during a trip to Georgia, said the administration “will do everything as quickly as we possibly can” to reopen the Port of Baltimore, which she said was one of the most important in the United States.

“We are trying to evaluate now what the impact may be of the bridge collapse,” Yellen said, adding that the supply chain task force, set up to ease COVID-19-era port blockages that contributed to inflation, would meet to review the latest information on the Baltimore port situation.

“We’re monitoring this very closely and prepared to take any steps that can be helpful.”

Asked about U.S. President Joe Biden’s pledge that the federal government would pay to rebuild the destroyed bridge, Yellen said: “My expectation would be that ultimately, there will be insurance payments in part to cover this, but we don’t want to allow worrying about where the financing is coming to hold up reconstruction.”

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Josie Kao)