Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dock Days on the Horizon

In the Maryland Department of Transportation road show visit to Calvert County, a few local industries were mentioned to point out the value of Maryland's maritime transportation infrastructure. Three businesses, to be exact, seem to be all that they could come up with for this slice of the Southern Maryland peninsula. They were Victor Stanley, Dominion (Cove Point), and Yesteryear Wicker. These businesses employ only about 300 of the approximately 50,000 strong Calvert County workforce.

Nevertheless, change is coming in the next twenty years that will make shipping over water more common. It just won't require Calvert to rely on the Port of Baltimore. Local waterborne cargo businesses will spring up at a multitude of the private docks along the bay and inlets in conjunction with the shift of short haul logistics onto cargo bikes.
Photo by Andrew M Butler

Factors contributing to these changes will include financial and commercial collapse, the peak oil descent, America turning inward as the world closes in around it, and more need of U.S. armed forces and police, burning more fuel in their desperate effort to stop insurgencies, rebellion, and mass pillage. If the latter driving factor does not manifest, then President H.R. Clinton's last gasp efforts to hold on to dominant U.S. influence abroad will also crimp domestic fuel supply, while more Middle East oil flows to the Far East.

Let's just hope that the rising sound and fury is tempered by all parties' adherence to the Paris treaty. Otherwise, the climatological fallout could be worse than the horrors of war.

In any case, the Port of Baltimore is bound to suffer some major losses. Maryland is the third most vulnerable state (behind Florida and Louisiana) to sea level rise. The average period between Superstorm Sandy level catastrophes for the U.S. East coast is now predicted at twenty years and dropping.

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