Comment – Global and local issues

I must admit to being somewhat in awe of the footage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this week, alongside feeling horror for those poor roadworkers apparently asleep in their trucks on a break.

Aside from the engineers question about how this occurred, more importantly would be why, as a multi span bridge, did quite so much collapse. Except that by scratching my head and trying to remember all those lectures on structural design from several decades ago, the whole central structure of the bridge (ie the three big spans) are designed to share the load across them all. Hence the catastrophic failure.

What remains to be seen is the impact on global trade, with state data suggesting that Baltimore handled a record 1.3 million tonnes of roll 0n, roll off agricultural and construction machinery in 2023, with customers including CNH Industrial, Claas, AGCO, John Deere, Caterpillar and Komatsu. CNH’s average annual volumes being around 15000 units. John Deere has been doing business with the port for over 30 years.

Baltimore is also the closest Eastern seaboard deepwater port by some 150 miles, to the key mid west manufacturing sites for several manufacturers. It remains to be seen how the supply chain reconfigures itself to take account of the closure of this key port facility.

Closer to home, Cambridgeshire dealers Collings Brothers have ceased trading with immediate effect, see for the full statement on the ‘solvent winding up of the company’.

We are in danger of having two dry days in a row, so the ewes are responding in the traditional manner by stopping lambing until normal service resumes!

I hope you can enjoy a restful few days off, and heres to the dry (er) weather!