Frozen rivers delay shippingToday is around the time the Mississippi River’s navigation season usually begins, but river shipping is getting a later start than usual.
By: By Erik Lorenzsonn, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Today is around the time the Mississippi River’s navigation season usually begins, but river shipping is getting a later start than usual.
It could be another two weeks before the upper Mississippi River opens up to towboats and barges. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Pepin still has about 20 inches of ice, preventing products from getting in and out of the Twin Cities.
Brennan Marine CEO Kent Pehler says in the La Crosse area, wide parts of the river are still frozen over, meaning products cannot move through the port of La Crosse. He says products from the south need to start making their way up the river.
“The northbound commodities — cement, steel, of course fertilizer, products like that — yes, they are antsy to replenish stockpiles and get product delivered to ports for the upcoming season,” Pehler said.
Pehler says there is not as much demand right now for Wisconsin products to move southbound. He says export demand is slow following last year’s drought. Also, South America is in the midst of its harvest season and is able to fill market orders.