With warmer temperatures in recent weeks, improved navigation conditions have caused increases in upbound barge traffic on the Upper Mississippi River, according to the USDA’s Grain Transportation Report released today.

For the week ending April 12, at Mississippi River Locks 27 there were 378 empty barges upbound. Most will be loaded with grain and returned downbound for export, the USDA said. One month ago, the number of Locks 27 empties was 251. 

In addition, for the week ending April 12, 105 barges with fertilizer moved upbound. These barges could also return downbound with export grain, the USDA said. The downbound grain volume at Locks 27 was 424,000 tons, the highest since mid-December 2013.