The Upper Mississippi River experienced high water conditions due to significant snowfall in the Upper Midwest in late winter and early spring. Even after the high-water conditions that resulted from the snow melt, Mike Steenhoek of the Soy Transportation Coalition says he was worried about quickly returning to low water levels on the river system.
“I was worried that any prolonged stretch of dry weather could result in swinging right back to low water conditions,” Steenhoek says. “That has unfortunately occurred.” He also says it serves as a reminder that drought not only inhibits the ability to grow a crop, but it also inhibits our ability to transport that crop.
Recent low river gauge readings in St. Louis and Memphis show how barge transportation could be challenging when our export season picks up in late summer and early fall. Low levels may again force companies to reduce tow sizes and freight amounts.