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Traffic Jam: US Drought Causes Delays on The Mississippi River

Published: 20 May 2015 01:05:39 PST
Coal, crude oil, petroleum, steel, cement, corn, wheat, soybean…all commodities that travel on along the Mighty Mississippi connecting the Gulf of Mexico with the Midwest.


The worst drought in 70 plus years is crippling the nation’s busiest waterway with river levels at record lows. One boat has already gone aground as water levels fall and giant barges have been bumping against the bottom and possibly bringing all traffic to a halt south of St. Louis. Prolonged stoppage of shipping on the Mississippi could have an economic impact reaching into the billions of dollars with the movement of goods reliant on river for transit. Shippers trying to move cargo to inland ports, ocean carriers and tankers waiting for cargo to reach the Gulf and the reverse, unloading cargo which has nowhere to go... all face the potential of being effected by dangerously low water levels in Mississippi .

The same drought that devastated crops throughout the Midwest over the summer was just as unkind to water; the Mighty Mississippi is dangerously narrow and shallow, exposing submerged rock formations. Dredging and rock removal near Thebes will continue through this month, with hopes that at the end of this week the channel will be at least two feet deeper to provide 10 feet of water to accommodate vessels. Work will continue to widen the river at several bends in its course.

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