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Corps of Engineers Faced with a Recurrence of Low Water Levels in the Mississippi River

09/19/2023

In a recurrence of low water levels along the Mississippi River during the fall and winter of 2022, freight rates are rising sharply.  From St. Louis, MO. southbound, barge cargo now costs 70 percent more than the three-year average.  Operators are reducing loads on barges and now link fewer barges in tows.  The president of the Canal Barge Company located in New Orleans noted “We’re keeping things moving but could use some rain and help from Mother Nature.” There has been a sharp drop in river height South of St. Louis, commencing at the end of the first quarter.  Snow melt and heavy rains resulted in flooding from Iowa southbound to Illinois, but levels dropped in June, leaving behind a layer of silt on the bottom of the river requiring the Corps of Engineers to dredge channels. 

 

This situation has implications for the new crop with a high proportion to be shipped down the Mississippi for either export or for livestock production in the southeast.  In coming weeks, EGG-NEWS will monitor barge rates and river levels and export tonnage will be recorded in the weekly Economy, Energy and Commodity Report.