The shrinking Mississippi River has hobbled the most efficient channel for moving U.S. soybeans onto world markets, prompting a pivot to alternatives from Puget Sound to Texas to the Great Lakes reports Bloomberg.
Typically, more than half of all U.S. soybean exports traverse the Mississippi River but after weeks of scant rainfall, water depths have dwindled, raising barge costs to an all-time high and even shuttering some grain elevators along the waterway.
As a result, ports in places like southeast Texas that normally handle less than 5% of the nations soybean exports, are being called into action.
The USDA said 2.57 million tons of American soybeans were inspected in the week ended October 27, a drop of 12% from the previous week.
The Mississippi River accounted for less than a third of the shipments, with supplies also leaving ports in Alabama and elsewhere, data showed on Monday.