Last week, ice storms and other severe weather temporarily halted barge operations on the Mississippi River around St. Louis, as well as on the Ohio, Illinois and Lower Mississippi rivers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
As of today, most grain barges have resumed operations, except for those on the Illinois River. Some minor delays persist but no major disruptions are expected, the USDA said in its weekly Grain Transportation Report (GTR).
The barge industry expects navigating conditions on the Illinois River to continue to improve for the rest of the week. However, melting ice may cause high water conditions next week that could potentially challenge operations, according to GTR.
With last week’s severe weather impacts, total barge grain movements for the week ending Feb. 20 were 488,462 tons, 46% lower than the previous four-week average and the lowest since April 2020, GTR said. For the same week, 674 grain barges were unloaded in New Orleans, the fewest since the August 2020 hurricane season.