River navigation still plagued by high water

Minor flooding is forecast or is underway across the western and southern portions of the Ohio River Basin and on the Lower Mississippi River, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Ohio River at Cairo, Ill., where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi River, has crested and the National Weather Service does not expect it to to begin to fall until April 14. Navigation on the Lower MississippiĀ  though Vicksburg, Miss., and Baton Rouge, La., continues to be restricted to daylight only, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Barge movements on the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans require additional time and towboats to unload grain and return empty barges upriver due to high and fast river conditions, the USDA reports. With these ongoing conditions, barge freight rates have been above average for several weeks. As of April 10, spot barge rates for export grain have been 60% to 121% above the three-year average.

For the week ending April 7, barge grain movements totaled 629,450 tons, 10% lower than the previous week and down 11% from the same period last year, the USDA said in its weekly Grain Transportation Report. For the week ending April 7, 395 grain barges moved down river, 47 barges less than the previous week. There were 792 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 30% higher than the previous week, the USDA said.

About the author

David Krapf

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nationā€™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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