High Water Continues to Disrupt Barge Traffic

This article has been printed from the March 8 USDA Grain Transportation Report.

Beginning in late February, heavy rainfall in the Mississippi and Ohio River Basins has resulted in significant flooding at locations near important inland waterway infrastructure vital to the movement of U.S. grains by barge, including: Paducah, KY, Cairo, IL, Memphis, TN, Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez, MS, and Baton Rouge, LA. 

As of March 8, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) reports that Smithland Lock and Dam on the lower Ohio River, near Smithland, KY, is currently closed. 

Barge traffic is also restricted to daylight passage at Vicksburg and Memphis and barge tow sizes have been reduced from 40 to 30 barges on the lower Mississippi River. 

Navigation restrictions are set by the Waterway Action Plan, a joint effort of the U.S. Coast Guard, Corps, and senior leaders of the towing industry. 

For the week ending March 6, barge rates for export grain at major originating locations had a weekly increase of 22 to 34 percent due to the disruptions.