St. Louis barge rates for export grain peaked on Oct. 3 at 800% of tariff ($31.92 per ton) but dropped to 338% of tariff ($13.49 per ton) by the end of October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today.

The average November barge rate for St. Louis was 240% of tariff ($9.58 per ton). At present, the average December barge rate for St. Louis is about 200% of tariff ($7.98 per ton), according to the USDA’s weekly Grain Transportation Report. The USDA said that similar patterns were seen for other major barge originating locations, except for the Ohio River, where rates have seen occasional increases due to delays caused by lock and dam repairs.

For the week ending Dec. 9, barge grain movements totaled 811,802 tons, 14% higher than the previous week and down 23% from the same period last year, the USDA said.

For the week ending Dec. 7, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions was 2.28 million metric tons (mmt), down 21% from the previous week and down 29% from the same time last year. The USDA said it was also 29% below the three-year average. The drop in inspections was caused primarily by the typical slowdown in demand from Asia and Latin America during this period.

Grain inspections were the lowest since the middle of September, the USDA said, with wheat inspections down 23% from the previous week, and soybeans falling 31% for the same period. Inspections of corn rebounded from the past week, increasing 9%. Pacific Northwest (PNW) inspections decreased 14% from the past week, and Mississippi Gulf grain inspections decreased 29% for the same period. The USDA added that outstanding (unshipped) export sales were down for wheat and soybeans, but up for corn.



David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.