Ohio River Lock & Dam 52 reopened Oct. 16 after being closed for about a week due to high water conditions that stopped all traffic on the lower Ohio River, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest “Grain Transportation Report.”
USDA said the closure caused a backlog of nearly 60 vessels, with more than 650 barges of all commodities waiting to transit the site.
As of Oct. 17, barge rates for export grain on the Ohio River increased 12% compared to the previous week, which USDA said was due, in part, to reduced availability of up-bound empty barges.
As of the week ending Oct. 14, only 31 up-bound empty barges had transited Lock & Dam 52 -- significantly lower than the previous week’s total of 141 up-bound empties.
Overall, year-to-date tonnages on the locking sections of the Mississippi, Ohio and Arkansas rivers total 31.8 million tons, about the same as last year at this time but 31% higher than the five-year average.