Barge traffic on the Mississippi River remains at a standstill due to high river levels. Now, it’s starting to affect businesses that rely on the river to move goods.
“It’s been literally 7 to 10 days we’ve been able to load since December 15th,” said Scott Meyer with Ursa Farmers Cooperative.
Meyer says shipping grain by barge is a cheap and effective way to move goods, but not when the river is this high.
“The farmer has seen better prices with all the rain so the prices for their commodities has gone up,” said Meyer. “They want to turn that into money so they contract grain with us but right now we are just closed. We can’t take their grain.”
Even though the water is going down, Meyer says it’s not going down fast enough.
“We’ve seen high water,” said Meyer. “We’ve seen it for two, three and four weeks at a time but nothing as prolonged as this.”
And before long, we could start the see the long-term effects of the high river levels especially when the the back-log of shipments starts running again.
“What comes northbound could be coal, could be salt, could be dry fertilizer for the fields,” said Meyer. “It could be iron-ore for the plants up in Ohio coming up from the gulf. Going southbound is going to be corn, soybeans and wheat, primarily.”
Meyer says barge traffic starts running again when the river hits 18 feet at Lock and Dam 20 in Canton, Missouri. He thinks the river will get to that point sometime next week.