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Dwindling Mississippi Grounds Barges, Threatens Shipments

  • Largest barge operator in the US declares force majeure
  • River isn’t set to see replenishing rainfalls anytime soon
A towboat pushes barges up the Mississippi River in Granite City, Illinois.

A towboat pushes barges up the Mississippi River in Granite City, Illinois.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg
Updated on

A logjam of more than 100 ships, tugboats and their convoys of barges in the shrinking Mississippi River is threatening to grind trade of grains, fertilizer, metals and petroleum to a halt. 

The largest US barge operator warned customers it won’t be able to make good on deliveries. Ingram Barge Co. declared force majeure in a letter to customers due to “near-historic” low water conditions on the Mississippi, the top route to get US grains and soybeans to the world market.