Small Business Administration opens recovery centers to aid businesses affected by Maryland bridge collapse, port closure

Mary Carole McCauley, Baltimore Sun on

Published in Business News

BALTIMORE — Nearly a week after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Dundalk business owners began grappling with the hit that the catastrophe may take on their businesses.

“When the bridge went down, my business completely stopped,” said Ryan Roberson, 35, owner of Robee Trucking and Robee Logistics. “Nothing is coming in the port and nothing is going out.”

Roberson stopped by the Business Recovery Center in Dundalk, one of two locations opened Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration to help merchants impacted by the closure of the Port of Baltimore.

He said he’s considering applying for one of the 30-year disaster relief loans available for up to $2 million and with interest rates at or below 4%. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 31, and it is possible the deadline might be extended, according to an SBA fact sheet.

Roberson said that competition among trucking companies is fierce for the remaining shipments at Baltimore’s port.

“There’s a bidding war going on,” he said, adding that competition had driven the price of a truck delivery from Baltimore to Norfolk, Virginia, from $1,500 to $750 virtually overnight. Subtract $350 for the cost of fuel, and that leaves just $400 for the driver’s salary and other expenses.


The recovery centers in Dundalk (11 Center Place) and Canton (1501 S. Clinton St.) will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The centers can also help workers apply for unemployment insurance — an option that Roberson, who has five employees, hopes to avoid.

“The last day we had any work was today,” he said. “I’m trying to keep people on the payroll, but it’s hard. I’m hoping that the SBA will help.”

The community development organization Dundalk Renaissance has gone door to door in the neighborhood to alert business owners about federal and state aid programs.


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