For the week ending June 16, downbound corn barge shipments through Mississippi River Locks 27 near St. Louis totaled 745,000 tons, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It represents the highest weekly corn barge volume for Locks 27 since the week ending Aug. 1, 2009.

This reflects an increased demand for corn barge shipments, as well as the much improved navigation conditions on the Upper Mississippi River during the first half of June, according to the USDA's weekly Grain Transportation Report (GTR). However, high water conditions have returned to northern portion of the Upper Mississippi River, St. Paul, Minn., to Rock Island, Ill., and will likely result in some disruptions of barge traffic.

Elsewhere on the inland waterways, disruptions on the Ohio River are expected to occur as recurrent operational difficulties at Locks and Dam 52 (Brookport, Ill.) may halt traffic for several days, starting on or about June 23, the GTR reported. Locks and Dam 52 will be replaced by Olmsted Locks and Dam, scheduled to be operational in the second half of 2018.

For the week ending June 16, barge grain movements totaled 1,191,930 tons, 18% higher than the previous week and up 110% from the same period last year. For the week ending June 16, 759 grain barges moved down river, 110 barges more than the previous week. There were 615 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 27% lower than the previous week.

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.