Sunday, October 16, 2022

Mississippi River Drought Imperils Trade on Vital US Waterway


This must be a contributor to inflation.

 Oct 6, 2022

 The Mississippi River is a vital US waterway that ferries key commodities between the heart of America and the Gulf Coast -- and drought is putting waterborne trade in jeopardy.

Drought depleted river levels so much that in some spots vessels are getting stuck. One shipping company said low water levels are causing severe impacts to navigation not seen since 1988. It’s a key concern for transporting goods from a river basin that produces 92% of the nation’s agricultural exports, especially during harvest season.


The drying Mississippi is reminiscent of this summer’s transportation woes on the Rhine River — and both are functions of a Northern Hemisphere drought worsened considerably by climate change. Drought in root-level soil this summer was roughly 20 times more likely north of the tropics, according to a report this week by World Weather Attribution, a scientific research group. The drought caused rivers to dry up around the hemisphere, and caused particular harm in Western Europe, where summer crop yields plummeted.

The Mississippi River is currently closed near Stack Island, Mississippi, causing a backup of 117 vessels and 2,048 barges in the area as of midday Thursday, while a shutdown near Memphis, Tennessee has caused a smaller logjam, according to the Coast Guard. The US Army Corps of Engineers is dredging near Stack Island and the Coast Guard intends to reopen the waterway with restrictions at some point Friday.


About 35% of US thermal coal for export travels on the Mississippi, so this will significantly affect the market, said Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy & Resources LLC, a major US exporter.

“It will be a big disruption to supply,” he said.



No comments:

Post a Comment