The largest barge operator in the U.S. told its customers last week that it won’t be able to make good on deliveries due to the shrinking Mississippi River. Bloomberg says Ingram Barge Company declared a force majeure in a letter to customers because of the “near-historic” low water along the Mississippi River.
The river is the top way to get American grains exported to the world market. Drought has dropped the water level far enough that ships are beginning to run aground. The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to stuck vessels in at least two places, including Stack Island between Louisiana and Mississippi and upriver near Memphis.
American Commercial Barge Line, another shipping company that uses the river to transport goods, says the drought is causing the most severe impact on navigation since 1988. The logjam comes at the worst time as grain harvest is in progress, and supplies will pile up.