Commodities Affected by Low Mississippi River Flows
“The two-way highway that typically this time of year starts bringing grains and oil seeds southward to the Gulf Coast for export and then allows products to move northwards such as fertilizer that can be used in the fall or next spring. So we have this barge traffic and we're starting to see some requirements in the lower areas of the rivers for lightened loads so that the barges Don't drag or hit rock outcroppings or sandbars as they move north or south through the river channel. Now over the last year, we have seen considerable effort by the Army Corps of Engineers to try to widen and dredge, and deepen the channels and that has allowed for at least to this point, a lot of the barge traffic to flow unimpeded. But as we get deeper into this situation and the river levels continue to drop, it does create an issue where the barge loads have to be lightened.
From the Ohio River to Jackson, Mississippi, all gauges along those 400 miles of river are being registered as low water thresholds. And the reason is drought. As a matter of fact, it has been the hottest year on record for both Louisiana and Mississippi.