The report outlines why this historic spike in downbound barge rates occurred this fall: excruciatingly low water levels on the Mississippi due to drought. Some excerpts from the report:
“Low water levels, especially on the vital stretch between Cairo, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee, have caused groundings and the need for dredging that have closed sections of the river and halted barge movements for intermittent periods. U.S. Coast Guard District 8 (New Orleans) reported a backup of over 2,000 barges on the Lower Mississippi in early October.
Ocean freight rates then began to fall, but as of October 2022 remain 211% above the pre-pandemic rate.Truck Congestion at Worst Bottlenecks (MPH), Barge Rates on the Mississippi (WHOOSH), China-US Container Freight Rates | Wolf Street