Supply Chain Shocks Reverberate from Container Ship Collision

By Patricia Miller


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Bridge collapse in Baltimore port disrupts supply chain, affects costs, and raises concerns for retail investors due to potential stock impacts.

steel arch continuous through truss bridge over Patapsco River and outer Baltimore Harbor.
Container Ship Collision Causes Economic Fallout in Baltimore's Port

What You Need To Know

Yesterday's devastating container ship collision with Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge has raised questions about the safety and efficiency of US ports and supply chains. While Baltimore is not a major port for containers, it handles a significant volume of automobiles and other goods. The closure of the port due to the bridge collapse is causing economic fallout, with an estimated loss of $217 million per day.

Car companies like Ford (NYSE: F) and GM (NYSE: GM) are seeking alternative routes for parts and vehicles, potentially resulting in costlier transportation and longer shipping times. Farmers may also be affected, as Baltimore is a key port for importing farm and construction equipment. Importers may divert their cargoes to West Coast ports to avoid potential disruptions, but whether they'll have the capability to process them all is also in question. Overall, the incident highlights the vulnerability of the nation's infrastructure and supply chains.

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According to an academic paper, Companies hit by supply chain disruptions during COVID-19 saw a sharp fall in shareholder value within two weeks and a drop in operating performance over the next year. Diversifying suppliers, customers, and products helped soften these negative impacts.

A closer analysis uncovered a trade-off between diversifying customers and products. When comparing different industries, service-oriented companies faced greater losses than those in manufacturing. However, spreading out customer bases lessened the impact of supply chain disruptions for both sectors. In manufacturing, having a variety of suppliers played a crucial role, while for service firms, offering a range of products proved advantageous.

Why This Is Important for Retail Investors

  1. Supply chain disruptions can impact the availability and pricing of consumer goods, potentially affecting retail companies' profitability and stock performance.

  2. The closure of a major port like Baltimore can lead to increased transportation costs, which may be passed onto consumers, leading to potential inflationary pressures.

  3. Retail investors with holdings in automotive companies may see an impact on stock prices and earnings due to potential delays and higher costs in transporting vehicles and parts.

  4. Changes in the flow of goods and potential diversions to West Coast ports can affect the operations and financial performance of logistics and transportation companies, which may be part of retail investors' portfolios.

  5. The incident highlights the importance of considering infrastructure vulnerabilities and potential supply chain risks when evaluating investment opportunities, particularly in sectors closely linked to transportation and trade.

How Can You Use This Information?

Here are some of the investing ideas that can be explored using this information:

Defensive investing

Retail investors may explore defensive strategies by focusing on sectors or companies less impacted by supply chain disruptions, such as those involved in essential goods or services.

Defensive Investing focuses on securing a portfolio by choosing companies that are less sensitive to economic downturns.

Dividend Investing

With potential stock impacts from the bridge collapse, dividend investing can be considered as investors look for stable income sources amid market uncertainties.

Dividend investing targets companies that regularly distribute a portion of their earnings to shareholders as dividends.

Sector Rotation

Given the potential shifts in goods flow and transportation methods, investors may consider adjusting their portfolios through sector rotation strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities and mitigate risks in affected sectors.

Sector Rotation is the practice of shifting investment capital from one industry sector to another to take advantage of the economic cycle.

Geographic Diversification

The incident highlights the vulnerabilities of specific regions, making geographic diversification an important strategy to spread risk and protect against localized disruptions.

Geographic Diversification expands a portfolio's reach by investing in assets across different regions to mitigate the risk associated with any single country.

Read What Others Are Saying

Bloomberg: How Baltimore Key Bridge Collapse Will Impact the Supply Chain

McKinsey: Measuring the distance of geopolitics and global trade

Bloomberg: Baltimore Bridge Collapse Sows Fears of Inflationary Shocks to US Economy

CNBC: Logistics companies scramble after bridge collapse closes Port of Baltimore until further notice

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What you should read next:

Popular ETFs

When considering the impact of supply chain disruptions and the strategies companies can adopt to mitigate these effects, investors might look into various ETFs focusing on sectors likely to be involved in diversification efforts or affected by such disruptions. Here's a list of relevant ETFs across different sectors:

  • Industrial and Supply Chain Management:

    • iShares U.S. Industrials ETF (IYJ): Focuses on U.S. companies in the industrial sector, which includes transportation and logistics companies.

    • SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN): Tracks the performance of the transportation sector, including freight and logistics services.

  • Technology and Innovation:

    • Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ): Invests in companies involved in the development and production of robotics and artificial intelligence, which are critical in optimizing supply chains.

    • ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK): Focuses on companies that exhibit disruptive innovation, including those improving supply chain efficiency through technology.

  • Diversified International Exposure:

    • Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS): Offers exposure to a wide range of international stocks, including those in countries with emerging markets, which could be pivotal in diversification strategies.

    • iShares Global Industrials ETF (EXI): Provides global exposure to industrial companies, including those involved in manufacturing and distribution, potentially benefiting from diversified supply chains.

  • Consumer Goods and Retail:

    • Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY): Tracks consumer discretionary companies, which could be impacted by supply chain disruptions but also benefit from diversified supply and distribution networks.

    • Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC): Invests in companies involved in the production and distribution of essential goods, which are crucial in maintaining stable supply chains during disruptions.

  • Agriculture and Commodities:

    • Invesco DB Agriculture Fund (DBA): Offers exposure to various agricultural commodities, which could be affected by supply chain issues but also stand to benefit from diversified import and export strategies.

    • Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLB): Focuses on companies in the materials sector, including those that supply raw materials for manufacturing and construction, sectors that are sensitive to supply chain disruptions.

Explore more on these topics:



This article does not provide any financial advice and is not a recommendation to deal in any securities or product. Investments may fall in value and an investor may lose some or all of their investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Patricia Miller does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Patricia Miller has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of, does not hold a position or positions in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

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