For the week ending July 21, grain barge shipments on the locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas rivers saw its second straight week of decreased barge tonnages, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly Grain Transportation Report (GTR).
For several weeks, high water on the Upper Mississippi River has slowed barge traffic from St. Paul, Minn., to Davenport, Iowa, the USDA said. Delays are also being experienced at Melvin Price Locks and Dam on the Mississippi River, due to repair work that has closed the main, 1,200' lock chamber. Barges can transit the smaller, 600' auxiliary chamber, but at a reduced pace, according to the GTR. The Melvin Price repairs are expected to be completed by the end of July. Traffic delays are also occurring at Ohio River Locks and Dam 52, near Lockport, Ill., where operational difficulties at the dam earlier in the month closed the river. As of July 21, year-to-date grain barge tonnages were 21 million tons, about the same as the three-year average, but 9% lower than last year at this time, the USDA reported.
For the week ending July 21, barge grain movements totaled 651,930 tons, 12% lower than the previous week and down 47% from the same period last year. For the week ending July 21, 421 grain barges moved downriver, 52 barges less than the previous week. There were 803 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 3% higher than the previous week, the USDA said.