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Officials Agree to Deepen Lower Mississippi

Deepening will result in significant transportation cost savings for shippers

Mississippi 5047739 1920

On August 7, officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Louisiana, and the Port of New Orleans signed an agreement to deepen the Lower Mississippi River to 50 feet, from its current depth of 45 feet.

Slated for completion in 2024, the $250 million project will deepen two sections within a 256-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi River — from the Port of Baton Rouge south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The new depth will allow bulk cargo vessels to undertake full loads at river ports, instead of partially loading and transferring cargo to larger ships elsewhere.

The deepening of the lower Mississippi River — the main export region for America’s soybean and corn farmers — is expected to result in significant transportation cost savings for shippers.

According to a report sponsored by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, this project will lower the landed cost of soybean shipments from the Gulf by $5 per metric ton.

Additionally, the project will increase basis by 13 cents/bushel for locations within 205 miles of the river, and extend the river “draw” from 205 miles to 247 miles (i.e., shippers farther away from the river will benefit from access to more cost-effective barge shipping).

Information provided by the USDA Grain Transportation Report.

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