Barge Rates Fall as Navigation Conditions Improve

This article is taken from the Oct. 12 USDA Grain Transportation Report:


As of October 10, spot barge rates for export grain from major originating locations decreased 41 to 65 percent compared to the previous week.

After surging to 3-year highs by October 3, rates plunged as rains replenished river channels and allowed for increased loading capacities and higher cargo moving efficiencies.

GTR Figure 8 shows the Illinois River Barge rate increasing from 435 percent of tariff ($20.18 per ton) in mid-September to a October 3rd peak of 775 percent of tariff ($35.96 per ton), and a sharp decline to 413 percent of tariff ($19.16 per ton) by October 10.

However, the increased water levels may have a negative impact on rates as the lower Ohio River is closed due to high water.

Water levels on the lower Ohio River are exceeding the maximum allowable stage for transiting Ohio River Locks and Dam (L&D) 52.

The dam at L&D 52 is not fully functional and cannot allow for a quicker drawdown of the river levels. It may take until October 16 for locking to resume.