This article has been reprinted from the Sept. 12 USDA Grain Transportation Report.
Major navigation issues on the Mississippi River have slowed traffic and reduced demand for shipping.
This week’s total downbound tonnage on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas Rivers was 50 percent lower than the previous week and 72 percent lower than the same week last year.
As of Tuesday afternoon, over 100 downbound barge tows and several upbound tows were waiting at Victoria Bend on the lower Mississippi, due to low water.
Delays and tow size restrictions due to shoaling and lock maintenance are a concern in other locations on the Mississippi as well.
Despite some delays on the Ohio River, the volume of grain measured at Olmsted Lock and Dam was up 50 percent.
Grain movements on the Arkansas River were also down from last week, but shipments on the Arkansas contribute only a small fraction to total grain exports.
Decreased barge rates reflect lowered demand from shippers in reaction to these delays.
Carriers have reported difficulty finding bids from shippers for services in some locations.