Feb 19, 2021

Snow & Ice Storms Interrupt Grain Barge Movements

Fleet movements have been suspended on many rivers; industry expects logistical challenges to continue

source: USDA Grain Transportation Report

Since early February, grain barge movements on parts of the Mississippi River have been delayed and, in some cases, halted because of severe weather.

For the week ending on February 13, total downbound grain barge movements were only 679,681 tons — a 14% drop from the previous week and 34% drop from two weeks ago). The decrease occurred despite strong export demand. Since the second week of February, icy water conditions have slowed barge operations on the Illinois River.

As of the beginning of this week, in response to forecasts of snow and ice storms, fleet movements have been suspended on the Mississippi River around St. Louis, as well as on the Ohio River, Illinois River, and Lower Mississippi River areas.

As a result, barge rates for this week at these locations should be interpreted with caution. The industry expects continuous logistical challenges for the rest of the week.

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