OCTOBER 17, 2022
BY LORI ANN LAROCCO
According to the National Weather Service Memphis Office, the Mississippi River is projected to tie the all-time record of -10.70 feet, either later today or tonight. The Mississippi River is a vital waterway for trade and the lower water levels have impacted the amount of commodities that can be imported or exported out of New Orleans. Barges cannot be fully loaded. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly transportation report, southbound barge tonnages were reduced on the river by more than 20%
Agriculture shippers for corn, soybeans, and wheat use barges as a cheaper alternative to trucks or rail to move their grain in bulk. Just under half (47%) of all grain is moved by barge, according to the USDA. Approximately 5.4 million barrels of crude and 35% of thermal coal are moved on the Mississippi.
Paul Brashier, vice president of drayage and intermodal at ITS Logistics, tells CNBC retailers are trying to find creative ways to manage their excess inventory.
“Many of our client’s distribution centers (DCs) are overstocked and they are navigating how to deal with that excess inventory and move all the subsequent freight,” Brashier said. “With that headwind, those DCs that process their import freight are really feeling the pressure. We are identifying their high-demand SKUs and taking them out of their terminals to our pop-up transload facilities. We then load that product into a 53-foot container to move that inventory further inland so it can reach the consumer faster.”