Race against winter

Northern sections of the Mississippi River are closed for the winter. Meanwhile, low water levels created a backup of 100 ships downstream.

Bloomberg reports Grain shippers slowed by Mississippi River drought also race against winter

While it is normal for barges to stop moving every winter when the river freezes over, low water levels have left more than 2,000 downstream barges waiting to pass sections near Stack Island, Mississippi and Memphis.

“There’s always that race to unload something in the northern areas – Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota – and get it back before the drawbridge closes behind you due to cold weather and ice buildup” , said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy. Transportation Coalition. “It becomes all the more tricky when the river is not working as efficiently as usual.”

Shippers need the barges to head north to drop off fertilizer and pick up a final load of corn or soybeans before heading south for the winter. If they can’t, thousands of bushels will be tied up unless space can be found on more expensive trains to the Pacific Northwest or the Gulf Coast, or until spring.

It doesn’t help that the corn and soybean crops are lagging behind last year’s pace. Corn is only harvested at 20% on October 2 and soybeans at 22%.

There are two outcomes if barges are slower moving upriver, according to Peter Meyer, head of Platts Grain and Oilseed Analytics. “The first is that freight per barge is increasing, as we’re seeing, it’s skyrocketing. The second is that supplies are stuck upstream and it couldn’t come at a worse time now that we are in the middle of harvest. »

Mississippi Barge Snag forces cargo onto expensive rail and truck

Yahoo! News Mississippi Barge Snag forces cargo onto expensive rail and truck

Shippers scramble to find alternative ways to move goods after low water levels on the Mississippi River forced barge companies to stop taking orders for immediate delivery of everything from metals to agricultural products through fertilizers.

Today, companies pay a premium to transport steel, aluminum and other goods by rail and truck, despite costs up to five times higher than what they would normally pay by barge . Coal and oil shipments have also been rerouted, but these other modes of transport are not an effective solution.

“The beauty of our navigable rivers is that they are able to transport heavy goods, like soybeans and grains, over long distances in an economical way,” Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, said in a statement. E-mail. “A towing of 15 barges has the same freight capacity as 940 semi-trailers. However, this efficiency is based on normal water conditions, which unfortunately do not currently exist.

Interruption of barge traffic

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gCaptain Reports Mississippi River barge backlog grows as water levels drop

Commercial barge traffic on the southern reaches of the Mississippi River was at a standstill on Tuesday as low water levels halted shipments of grain, fertilizer and other commodities on the critical waterway, shipping sources said. .

The supply chain to scold comes just as the harvest of corn and soybeans, the largest cash crops in the United States, is intensifying and tight global supplies and strong demand for food and fuel have pushed up inflation.

About 100 tugs carrying some 1,600 barges were lined up for miles waiting to cross a hotspot near Lake Providence, Louisiana, which has been largely closed since late last week, shipping sources said.

Shippers loaded less cargo per barge, so ships sit higher on the water, and towing companies reduced the number of barges per tow by almost 40%, as low water conditions narrowed the navigable channel.

Many U.S. Gulf exporters withdrew loaded corn and soybean offers in October and November as it is unclear whether they can source sufficient grain supplies, threatening already sluggish export sales.

“We cannot commit to new sales at this time,” said an exporter.

Force Majeure due to low water on the Mississippi

Finally, please note Ingram Barge Declares Force Majeure Due to Low Water on Mississippi

Ingram Barge Company, one of the nation’s largest barge shippers, said Thursday it was ‘providing formal notice of a force majeure event’ as low water in the Mississippi River disrupted its operations on the major waterway. .

The statement would affect the portion of Ingram’s operating network at locations downriver from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ingram Barge General Manager John Roberts said in an emailed statement.

This post is from MishTalk.Com

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