Low river levels causing light cargo, higher prices for consumer - KMOV.com

Low river levels causing light cargo, higher prices for consumers

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By Eric Lorenz By Eric Lorenz

ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV.com) -- Low river levels are causing big problems here in Missouri.

The low water levels expose sandbars which end up acting as roadblocks for the millions of tons of products that move up and down the rivers.

Today News 4 talked to industry leaders about how problems on the world’s largest inland waterway transportation system will soon pull more money from your pocket.           

“They’re bad right now and really getting worse,” said Dennis Wilmsmeyer, executive director of America’s Central Port.

The country’s economy relies on the waterway to move massive amounts of everything from coal, grain and other goods. As the water levels continue to drop, so does the amount of cargo.

“Less commodity per barge,” said Wilmsmeyer. “[The river] just doesn’t have the amount of water to be able to float those boats.”

When the boat wont float, it costs more for companies to move their goods around. That extra cost gets passed on to the consumer.  

The Army Corps of Engineers has been dredging the Mississippi river nonstop since July 1.

Officials say there’s no relief in sight and water levels continue to drop. Earlier Tuesday, ACE said the low levels could persist into fall.

As the home of the busiest lock and dam on the Mississippi, the corps says an unexpected shut down of water traffic in St. Louis would cost at least $3 million a day.    

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