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CSX Reopens Curtis Bay Coal Piers After Tragic Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse

May 21, 2024 - CSX is ramping up loading operations at its Curtis Bay coal piers just two months after the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge. The fall of the bridge, claimed the lives of six individuals and left the community and the world in shock. It not only impacted the families of the victims but also had far-reaching consequences for the Baltimore Harbor, a critical hub for global trade and local livelihoods.
This swift recovery of operations is a testament to the resilience and dedication of the CSX team, who worked tirelessly to ensure service continuity for their export coal customers despite the challenging circumstances.
The Curtis Bay coal pier in Baltimore Harbor is one of CSX's largest export coal facilities. “It's important for both the global economy by ensuring coal reaches the market, and for our customers and the health of their business,” said John Healy, CSX director of sales for Export Coal.
The bridge collapse halted all shipments out of the port, including coal, due to the inability of ships to access the channel. This interruption posed a significant challenge for CSX and its customers.
CSX's operations team quickly mobilized to find alternative solutions. "We had to assess what we could do to support our customers," explained Aleek Young, CSX general manager for Coal and Ore Piers.
In response, the team facilitated partnerships with a third-party barge company to mid-stream coal from Curtis Bay, transloading it to large vessels in Annapolis. They also collaborated with steamship lines to create a custom shipping solution between Baltimore and New York.
These temporary measures ensured that shipments continued to reach their destination, maintaining the supply chain's integrity and minimizing disruption for CSX’s customers.
CSX also performed maintenance work at the facility during the recovery period that will increase the site’s resiliency and allow the company to run stronger through the rest of the year once it returns to normal operations.

While Baltimore Harbor is a critical port to global markets, it also means a little more to the people at CSX.
“This region holds a special place in CSX's history, as it has been central to CSX operations for nearly two centuries," said Joe Hinrichs, President and Chief Operating Officer of CSX. "We remain deeply connected to this dynamic community, and we felt it was our duty to support it."
That heritage – and CSX’s commitment to the region – provided extra motivation for the company’s swift action to restore service at the port.
More importantly, CSX demonstrated its solidarity and support by donating $50,000 to the Maryland Tough Baltimore Strong Key Bridge Fund. This fund supports community initiatives focused on healing, response, and honoring those impacted by the collapse.
In the face of a profound tragedy, the CSX team showcased remarkable unity and resilience. Their collective efforts not only ensured service continuity but also provided crucial support to the community.
"They came together in response to a very atypical situation," said Healy. "It showed what CSX can do when we all work together with one focus in mind, which is serving our customers and helping people in need."
The rapid reopening of the Curtis Bay coal piers and the implementation of innovative shipping solutions highlight the strength and flexibility of CSX's operations team. Their actions have helped mitigate the impact of the bridge collapse, ensuring that the Baltimore Harbor remains a vital port for global trade and a cornerstone of the local economy.
For additional information on shipping with CSX in the Baltimore region, visit MoveWithCSX.com.