Weekly grain tonnages through the locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas rivers surged to 1.2 million tons for the week ending July 22, the highest since Nov. 26, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Corn shipments are higher compared to soybeans during July, but the large increase for the latest week was primarily due to an increase in soybeans. For the week ending July 22, soybeans tonnages were 453,000 tons, 163% higher than the three-year average for weekly soybean tonnages for July, according to the Grain Transportation Report, a weekly publication of the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.
From 2013 to 2016, the average weekly corn tonnage on the locking sections during July was 496,000 tons per week, while the latest week’s tonnages were 674,000 tons per week. The weekly increase is due in part to increased river levels that have improved navigation conditions around lock repairs and allowed more tows to transit the work areas, according to GTR.
The USDA also reported that for the week ending July 22, barge grain movements totaled 1.23 million tons, 34% higher than the previous week, and up 30% from the same period last year. For the week ending July 22, 772 grain barges moved down river, up 30% from last week, and 686 grain barges were unloaded in New Orleans, up 2% from the previous week.