Updated: friday, march 27, 2020
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The river industry continues to experience high water events at multiple locations on the U.S. inland waterways. While ACBL strives to anticipate average historical periods of restricted movements as a normal cost of its operations, recent high water events have created delays and internalized costs beyond what is considered routine in the normal course of business. High water events on the inland waterways continue to be a shared burden for all that rely on river transportation If river areas are deemed in a high water event under a Waterways Action Plan or any U.S. Coast Guard directive, industry agreement or other controlling rule or regulation and there are restrictions imposed on ACBL's ability to navigate the river areas then ACBL may implement a high water surcharge.
Today's Key Issues
- Lower Miss Reopened at Vicksburg - USCG closed the river (LM 410-435) to transit as of 0900 3/26 just below Vicksburg due to a fleet breakaway. River reopened around 1700 CST 3/26.
- Gulf and Canals Weather Update - Fog continues to impact productivity in the Gulf and on the Canals as noted below. High wind delays forecasted to impact the Canals as a front moves through today, 3/27 through Sunday, 3/29.
- Fog Conditions Heavily Impacting Gulf Operations - As of 3/27, Fog has impacted Gulf and Canal Operations for 18 days in March with 6-12hrs of delay. To put this in perspective - this equates to a loss of approx. 7 days or 30% of barging productivity. As a result, lock delays, transits, and fleeting/stevedoring downtime have increased throughout the region.
- Severe West Canal Delay Expected - Ongoing work and daytime closures at Calcasieu Lock (WC 238) remain driving 2+ days of delay. Leland Bowman Lock (WC 164) will have two 4-day closure periods 3/25-3/28 and 3/30-4/2 for new gate installation. These projects, in addition to weather conditions, are expected to drive 8-12 days of delay over the next few weeks. For further detail, please see our Lock Closure page including a map of these locations.
- Flood Conditions on the Lower Miss - River Levels are in flood stage from Cairo to the Gulf, driving a 5-10 barge Tow Size reduction, or a 14-24% reduction in productivity. Furthermore, daylight restrictions in Memphis, Vicksburg, and Baton Rouge are increasing transits by as much as 1-2 days or 20-40%. These flood conditions are expected to remain until late March basis the river stage at Baton Rouge, currently at 39.1 ft, projected on a rise the next several weeks to crest below 42' approx. April 10th. NOAA forecasts Baton Rouge to remain above the 35 ft Flood Stage for at least the next 28 days. Additional rain in March and forecasted in April continue to extend these flood conditions, a story beginning to look similar to 2019.
- Flood Conditions in the Gulf - Tow Size restrictions have decreased productivity by 43% for 4200HP boats redelivering loads and empties. To maintain commitments to service in the Gulf, ACBL has increased their shuttle boats from four boats to seven at significant expense.
- Flood Conditions in St Louis area - Reduced tow size on 6000 hp boats to 20 barges when river goes above 22 ft. Daylight only through St Louis Bridges when river goes above 25 ft.
- Due to Flooding in St Louis area tow size on the Illinois River is reduced to 12 barges when St Louis goes above 28 ft.
- Flood Condition on the Upper Miss - The Upper Miss is still getting hit hard flooding. Projections show some Locks 16 (UM457), Lock 17(UM437) & Lock 20(UM343) going out or on the lines of going out.
- Louisville - SBD daylight only restrictions have been lifted
- Cheatham Lock (CR148) - will be shutdown starting this afternoon and lasting thru Friday (3/27) due to heavy flows.