For the week ending March 6, grain barge movements recovered from the effects of severe weather in February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
In its weekly Grain Transportation Report (GTR) released today, the USDA said that despite high water conditions on the Ohio and Lower Mississippi rivers, total downbound grain was 848,441 tons, 93% higher than last week and the highest level since the beginning of February.
Meanwhile, although total upbound empty barges stayed the same as the previous week at 632, the number of upbound empty barges on the Ohio River dropped 30% because of high water, according to the GTR. However, in the St. Louis area, upbound empty barges on the Mississippi River totaled 396 barges, a 32% increase from last week. Early this week, the USDA said there were some barge delays on the Ohio and Lower Mississippi due to high water, but barge operators expected water conditions to improve the rest of the week.
In other news, in the March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), USDA’s World Agriculture Outlook Board (WAOB) released its adjusted projections for marketing year (MY) 2020-21. According to the USDA report, since February, estimated MY 2020-21 U.S. soft white wheat exports rose and estimated hard red winter wheat exports fell.
The estimates, if realized, could incrementally reduce demand for rail and ocean vessels in the Texas Gulf region, while supporting western rail and barge volumes, the USDA said. Also, since February, estimated MY 2020-21 U.S. corn exports remain unchanged.