The inland barge industry is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ida, which hit Louisiana on Aug. 29.
The storm damage was extensive to inland marine assets and recovery efforts were slowed by power outages in the region, according to River Transport News.
RTN said that "while recovery efforts are proceeding, the industry is far from reaching any semblance of normalcy." Activity is still below normal, which have caused imbaalances in barge supply and demand.
The covered hopper fleet and Lower Mississippi export grain trade remain the primary focus of the dry cargo market as the sector continues to suffer from the aftereffects of Ida, RTN said.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 14% of the U.S. corn crop and 18% of the U.S. soybean crop had been harvested as of Sept. 26. Nearby spot barge rates for export grain shipments have continued to increase over the past two weeks. Rates from St. Louis-area origins recently fluctuated between 800 and 900% of tariff. At this same time last year, nearby St. Louis-origin spot rates were trading at 370% of benchmark tariff, RTN said.