The National Corn Growers Association is urging the Army Corps of Engineers to delay work on the Mississippi River that would shut a portion of the river channel down to barge traffic. The Corps of Engineers Thursday announced they are shutting down five miles of the river near Memphis for two weeks to all daylight traffic. NCGA Vice President of Production and Utilization Paul Bertels says the timing of the work is problematic.
“It’s some bank stabilization and levee work as far as I understand it. It’s important work. It has to be done. What we’re saying is, hey, your timing is really, really bad. With all that’s going on this is the absolute worst time to be doing this. In addition the grain industry can be incredibly dynamic working around issues that we know are coming. I find it hard to believe that you couldn’t tell us that you guys were getting ready to shut the river.”
Bertels says while the river will be open at night, it won’t be enough time to get all the traffic through.
“It goes both ways, so loads of grain heading south and either empties or northbound product coming north, last I heard they were still hauling salt into Chicago and Pittsburg and places like that, so you have a lot of product that’s moving both ways. Sure the river’s open at night for traffic but the problem is you don’t have enough time to clear each day’s backlog during just 12 hours of dark.”
In the letter from NCGA, it stated the Association believes the closure could create backups as long as 75 miles. The closure could result in delays of grain shipments bringing potential financial implications on farmers.
Source: NAFB News Service