DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Mississippi River is seeing record low water levels in areas stretching from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, and that could have an effect on your wallet.
Less than an inch of rain has fallen since the beginning of fall here in Dayton. The drought in the Midwest paired with extreme drought down south has left parts of the Mississippi River dried up.
Dr. Michael Gorman, Endowed Chair of Operations and analytics at the University of Dayton School of Business said, “We’re already parking some barges near Evansville, started in Saint Louis, and they look for spots where there are places where they can hold barges. And the longer the drought lasts, the further up river barges will be held until soon they stop loading barges.”
The river is one of the busiest waterways to ship products, including the agriculture industry. It comes at a bad time, as farmers continue to harvest their crops.
Deb Calhoun, Senior Vice President for Waterways Council said, “Barges are the most cost competitive way for our American family farmers and our energy producers to be able to ship their products to domestic locations and those worldwide.”
Over the past month, barge rates have hit record highs with lower shipping traffic in the river. The rise in rates could be passed onto the customer, who will ultimately pay the price.
Gorman said, “It’ll probably affect soybean, wheat and those types of things, which could then eventually cause not shortages per se, although it could cause shortages. I’m going to guess that it might cause some increase in prices because some things will become a little more scarce.”
Calhoun said that they are waiting on mother nature to rain down, and restore water to the Mississippi River.