This article has been reprinted from the April 5 USDA Grain Transportation Report.
As of April 2, spot grain barge rates for export grain originating from major shipping points were 17 to 29 percent lower than a week ago.
Barge operators reported that increased navigation difficulties have dampened the demand for barge services.
Competition for a dwindling number of customers has put downward pressure on rates.
Export grain barge rates from St. Louis were 350 percent of tariff this week ($13.97 per ton), compared to 457 percent ($18.23 per ton) last week.
However, barge rates have been above average for over a year due, in part, to constant highwater conditions.
Current rates are 28 to 44 percent higher than the 3-year average.
While this week’s rates have dropped, barge operators have to contend with increased costs and reduced transit times.
For more information on river conditions and overall flood-related transportation issues, see this week’s feature article.