With improved snowpack in areas such as Montana and precipitation through the midsection of the country late last fall and this winter, the Mississippi River and its tributaries could be back to normal by this spring.
While the trend is in the right direction, it takes time for barge and river traffic to resume normal levels. This will impact the southern movement of grain for export channels and inputs and other products being moved north for the 2023 growing season.
Beyond a return to average water levels, barge freight rates have also eased in the past year. In early February,
USDA reports the barge rate for a shipment originating in St. Louis was $18.55 per ton. That is 26% less than a year ago.
Last October, freight rates for St. Louis cargo hit $105.85 per ton.