Barge rates for export grain at principal inland origins averaged 33 to 60% higher than the 5-year average during October, according to the latest USDA Grain Transportation Report. In anticipation of a record corn and soybean harvest, barge rates began to increase in late August and reached an annual high in late September when barge rates increased from 76 to 123% of average. However, rains slowed the harvest progress during much of October and resulted in some decreases for barge services, according to the USDA.
The lower Illinois River barge rate on Oct. 28 was 873% of tariff ($40.60 per ton), nearly $9 less per ton than the September 30 rate of 1,067 percent of tariff ($49.51 per ton). Barge rates for November delivery are averaging 35 to 52% above average, according to the Grain Transportation Report.
The USDA reported that during the week ending Oct. 25 barge grain movements totaled 737,098 tons—21% higher than the previous week but 12.7% lower than the same period last year. During the week ending Oct. 25, 472 grain barges moved down river, up 24% from last week; 858 grain barges were unloaded in New Orleans, down 5.6% from the previous week.