The U.S. Coast Guard shut down barge traffic after a large crack was found in a steel support beam on a bridge that extends over the Mississippi River at Memphis. According to Upper River Services President Lee Nelson, 430,000 tons of commodities go under this bridge every day. “It’s too soon to hang a hat on a number, but we’re hearing the potential impact of a quarter billion dollars a day.” Barge traffic will not resume until engineers can determine the bridge can stand on its own. “This could take days; this could take days; this could take months.” Grain shippers are considering alternatives modes of transportation, but those options cannot handle this kind of volume. More than 700 barges are sidelined right now and that number continues to grow.
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