Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Water, Water Everywhere

Floods close down Mississippi River three months after low water warnings.

Commercial shipping traffic is moving again on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis where a pair of barge accidents forced the Coast Guard to close the waterway last week, but navigation remained impaired farther north.

Flooding following torrential rains across the central United States forced the Army Corps of Engineers to close about a dozen locks on the Illinois River and the Mississippi River north of St. Louis. The Coast Guard closed a section of the Illinois River near Peoria to all traffic to protect levees, and was considering shipping restrictions in other areas as heavy currents made navigation treacherous.

The shipping headaches arose just three months after near-record low water threatened to close the Mississippi River in a busy stretch from St. Louis to its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Ill.

A 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis was closed April 20 after 114 barges primarily owned by American Commercial Lines broke free from a fleeting area and 11 of them, all containing coal, sank. Torrential downpours brought on sudden flooding throughout the Midwest, and high water is blamed for at least three deaths.

Whether it’s floods in the heartland, volcanoes in Iceland, port strikes in California, or (fill in the blank), the one thing you can count on with your supply chain is that there is a weak link waiting to make itself known.

Kirk Shearer
TOTALogistix, Inc.
800-989-0054 x103

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