Rain and snow melt have caused high water conditions that have slowed grain barge movements on the Ohio River, according to the USDA Grain Transportation Report.
For the week ending March 14, downbound grain barge shipments at Ohio River Locks and Dam 52 dropped to 95,000 tons, a significant drop from the previous week’s total of 251,000 tons, according to the USDA.
The Ohio River at Cairo, Ill., crested on March 18 at 48.4', 8.4' above flood stage. Based upon the three-year average for the first half of March, the Ohio River typically ships 240,000 tons of downbound grain per week. Mississippi River Locks 27 typically ships 227,000 tons per week during the first half of March. For the week ending March 14, Locks 27 tonnages were 222,000 tons, according to the grain transportagion report.
During the week ending March 14, barge grain movements totaled 361,675 tons — 30% lower than the previous week and 52% lower than the same period last year. During the week ending March 14, 240 grain barges moved down river, down 25% from last week; 537 grain barges were unloaded in New Orleans, up 31% from the previous week, according to the USDA.