Grain barge tonnage slows, spot rates down

As of Nov. 3, year-to-date (YTD) grain barge tonnages on the locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas rivers, were 31.7 million tons, 7% lower than last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Significantly reduced demand from China and poor navigation conditions have contributed to the reduction in the volumes of barged grain, the USDA said in its weekly Grain Transportation Report released today. YTD corn barge shipments were up 5% compared to last year. However, this was not enough to offset a 20% decline in YTD soybean shipments, resulting in lower overall demand for barge services, the GTR said. As of Nov. 6, barge spot rates from major interior shipping locations were 16% to 28% lower than the five-year average.

For the week ending Nov. 3, barge grain movements totaled 857,677 tons, 115% higher than the previous week and down 11% from the same period last year, according to the USDA. For the week ending Nov. 3, 540 grain barges moved down river, 298 more than the previous week. There were 878 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 29% higher than the previous week.

About the author

David Krapf

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.

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