Mississippi River Barges Shipped More Goods This Year Than In 2013

Extreme Weather Caused Early End, Late Start To Season

A barge moving products down the Mississippi River near Minneapolis. Photo: Steve's World of Photos (CC-BY-ND).

Despite a difficult Mississippi River shipping season, more products moved up and down the river on barges this year than in 2013.

Ice caused the shipping season to start late and end early. Flooding also shut down navigation on the Upper Mississippi River for nearly a month, forcing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct emergency dredging.

Corps spokesman Patrick Moes said despite all those setbacks, millions more tons of agricultural commodities and construction materials flowed through the river’s locks this year.

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“At the end of the day, the tonnage is up and I think it’s a testament to the Corps’ staff that work at each of the lock and dams, as well as those that maintain the river,” said Moes.

This was the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock’s last full navigation season in Minneapolis. Federal law requires it to shut down by next June to help stop the spread of Asian carp. Moes says the Corps is still working out how to close it.