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Home » Shipping » “It’s a logistical nightmare” Flooding stalls US grain exports at critical time

“It’s a logistical nightmare” Flooding stalls US grain exports at critical time

PortandTerminal.com, March 2, 2019

Heavy rains have caused high water levels and flooding on portions of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, triggering navigation restrictions that have delayed barge traffic throughout the system. The flooding has stalled the movement of barges that supply export terminals at the Gulf of Mexico with grain and soy, barge and grain traders said.

One lock on the Ohio River became impassable last week, halting vessels moving to and from the Mississippi River until as late as March 9.
“It’s a logistical nightmare, with this lock being closed … and the high water at the Gulf, and high water at Cairo, (Illinois). It’s just going to be that way for the next couple of weeks,” one cash grain trader said in a recent Reuters interview.

“The Mississippi Gulf accounts for 60 percent of our exports. So it impedes our ability to get product to market,” said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Iowa-based Soy Transportation Coalition.

Image: The Mississippi Gulf is America’s jugular vein when it comes to agricultural exports.

Further downriver, Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency in Louisiana due to the Mississippi River flooding threat. This flood is a long way from over yet for grain exporters and ports.

A backyard on Pryor Road in Limestone County is flooded on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, in Decatur, Ala. More than 30 school districts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee closed Friday, in part because school buses couldn’t navigate flooded roads. (Jeronimo Nisa/The Decatur Daily via AP)

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