For the week ending June 28, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, soybeans) for export reached 2.7 million metric tons (mmt); up 12% from the past week, up 40% from the same period last year, and up 39% from the prior three-year average, according to the Department of Agriculture’s latest Grain Transportation Report.

Soybean inspections were up 64% from last week, while corn inspections were unchanged, and wheat inspections were down 11%. Mississippi Gulf inspections were up 38% from last week, with corn up 14%. Mississippi Gulf wheat and soybean inspections were up 95% and 94%, respectively, consistent with the levels from previous weeks after lower-than-normal inspections last week. Pacific Northwest (PNW) inspections were down 8%. PNW soybean inspections were up 79% from lower-than-normal inspections last week, but corn and wheat inspections fell 20% and 5%, respectively. Total second quarter grain inspections were up 10% from last quarter and up 17% from the second quarter of 2018.

For the week ending June 30, corn barge tonnages on the locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas rivers were 617,000 tons, 14% lower than last week. Soybean tonnages were 249,000 tons, 18% lower than last week. Barge operations have been slowed by high water conditions on the Upper Mississippi River. During the same week, significant increases in wheat tonnages were reported on the Arkansas River, which had normal navigation conditions. Total wheat barge tonnages were 61,000 tons, a weekly increase of 47%. As of July 3, no Mississippi River locks are forecasted to be closed. However, the number of barges per tow has been restricted on portions of the river.

For the week ending June 30, barge grain movements totaled 928,835 tons, 13% lower than the previous week and down 2% from the same period last year. For the week ending June 30, 588 grain barges moved down river, 142 barges less than the previous week. There were 790 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 2% lower than the previous week.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.