CHS updates

How barge traffic disruptions impact farmers

Barge on a river

Drought conditions are contributing to low water levels in the Mississippi River, restricting barge traffic and access to critical export markets.

Nov 10, 2022

Barge traffic is the most efficient way to move grain and fertilizer in the U.S., but recent traffic disruptions during the peak harvest and fall application season could present challenges for farmers. Ben Doane, barge freight manager at CHS, says growers should work with their grain and fertilizer representatives to plan for longer lead times and potentially higher shipping costs as the supply chain adjusts.

The Mississippi River corridor is a critical link between producers and global markets and suppliers, but drought conditions havewater levels at record lows. That’s causing navigational difficulties, particularly in the Memphis South corridor, which every northbound and southbound barge must travel through. 

“Without that corridor, we don't have a reliable river system transportation infrastructure. We have overloaded barges, boats trapped in queues and intermittent river closures,” explains Doane. 

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