The Mississippi River’s water levels have become too shallow for many barges to effectively navigate. “Water levels really dictate whether barges are moving, how much grain is loaded in them, and how many barges a single tugboat can pull,” explains Danny Munch, economist, American Farm Bureau Federation. “Last week, they reported 20-to-27 percent reduction of volume that barges can move. They also limited the amount of barges a tugboat can pull.” The backlog in barge movements has pushed costs for shippers incredibly higher. During the week of October 4, average barge tariffs reached record levels at over 2,000 percent their underling benchmark and was up 50 percent from last year.
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