A Local CEO’s Perspective on the Baltimore Shipping Accident
April 1, 2024

It’s a five-minute drive to the Francis Scott Key Bridge from our Sparrows Point, Maryland, manufacturing facility. Each new day brings news of more significant losses and the arrival of crews seeking to begin the rebuilding process. The disaster is a stark reminder of the intricate dance of global supply chains and the role American manufacturing can and should play. This terrible accident and the disruption it will cause is a loud call for resilience in our domestic supply chain and our nation.

Many of us who manufacture PPE or even expanded our offerings did so in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. We answered the call from our nation’s leaders to lend a hand.  The call remains as clear today as it did then.

While the tragic accident introduced immediate disruptions into our supply chain, the consensus among experts alleviates fears of a full-blown crisis akin to those we’ve encountered previously. Lessons from past adversities have equipped us with a heightened capacity for adaptation and fortitude, positioning us to confront this latest challenge with resolve.

In the immediate aftermath of the accident, all participants in the global supply chain will have to manage logistical challenges. For some, delays may impede the ability to fulfill orders promptly. However, like most manufacturers, we recognize that transparency and communication with our customers remain paramount.

However, the incident underscores a more profound, systemic issue—the persistent threat of unfair competition, particularly from Chinese and foreign goods producers. As a local Maryland-based manufacturer, we consider our ports a gateway to the rest of the nation and the world. However, subsidized competitors in American industry can use these same ports to strike at the heart of our competitive marketplace.

It is imperative that we, as leaders and policymakers, address this challenge head-on. We urge our lawmakers to uphold the sanctity of our supply chains and safeguard the well-being of those who rely on our products.

Looking towards the horizon, we recognize the enduring importance of domestic government investment and continuing innovation in fortifying our competitive edge. Whether through optimizing production processes or developing cutting-edge PPE solutions, we remain steadfast in our pursuit of excellence and efficiency.

Recognizing PPE’s pivotal role in safeguarding our frontline responders’ health and well-being is central to our mission. From healthcare workers to emergency personnel, their tireless dedication and sacrifice demand nothing less than our unwavering commitment to providing them with the highest quality protection.

As the moment of tragedy fades, we are committed to keeping the memories of those who lost their lives at the forefront of our memory. We also will work with local communities and employers with a sober understanding of the challenges ahead.

In the days, weeks, and even months ahead, every time I look at the destroyed bridge from our headquarters, I will honor those who lost their lives and recognize that our shared resilience shines brightest in moments of tragedy. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to our frontline responders, healthcare workers, and others, we can weather this moment and emerge stronger on the other side.

About the Author: Dan Izhaky is the CEO of American PPE manufacturer United Safety Technology https://www.unitedsafetytech.com/. He is also the volunteer President of the American Medical Manufacturers Association https://www.ammaunited.org/