Mississippi River barge traffic continues to be threatened by low-water

Arkansas Drought Resource Center

The Mississippi River may remain open to barge traffic but according to Brian Wingfield, writing for Bloomberg, barge operators fear the worst drought in 80 years will still obliterate any gains they’ve made in keeping the river channel open.  Barge operators are currently limiting loads to keep barges from scraping the river bottom and are afraid that water levels are going to continue to decline.  A tow boat normally needs about 12 feet of water to operate at full capacity.  Light loads translate into lower tonnage transported on the River.  According to the National Weather Service, most of the river gauges in Arkansas are reporting close to 12 feet of water or a little more, although both Oscela and Memphis are currently reporting less than 8 feet of water and may get down to 3 feet or less by next week.  Maybe the rain this week will help?  READ…

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