April 13, 2024

SBA loans offered to small businesses after Baltimore port disruption

The same federal agency that helped small businesses across the country stay afloat during the pandemic has set up shop about two miles from the site of the fallen Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland to provide potential economic assistance to businesses in the state and the region.

United States Small Business Administration Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman announced on Saturday that businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region affected by the bridge collapse may apply for low-interest, long-term Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million.

“These loans may be used to pay normal operating expenses such as fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disruption,” a March 30 press release said.

A large salvage operation is underway on Mar 31, 2024, at the wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, a major span over the Patapsco River in Baltimore that collapsed after it was struck by a Singapore-flagged container ship 'Dali'.

The loans, with a 4% interest rate for small businesses and 3.25% interest rate for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years, were made available after Maryland Gov. Wes Moore requested a disaster declaration by the Small Business Administration on March 29. The ask from the governor came just three days after the bridge fell, curtailing vessel traffic near the Port of Baltimore, a top 20 port in the country ranked by both total tonnage and containers.

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