Weather Conditions Continue to Disrupt River Traffic
Weekly tonnages have been significantly reduced
Since late December, ice accumulations on the Mississippi, Ohio, and Illinois Rivers have disrupted barge logistics, and weekly tonnages have been significantly reduced.
For the first two weeks of January, grain barge tonnages were 496 thousand tons, 63 percent lower than the same period last year. Low water and ice are slowing traffic on the Mississippi River in the St. Louis area, especially where heavy ice buildup around locks are not allowing lock gates to fully open. Ice buildup on much of the Illinois River has slowed traffic and reduced the number of upbound empty barges to 10 for the week ending January 13.
Last year during the same time period, 180 upbound empty barges were shipped up the Illinois River. Navigation conditions on the lower Ohio River have improved with minimal delays occurring at Locks and Dam 52, while the upper Ohio River has faced less favorable navigation conditions where ice and high water have caused traffic disruptions.