More Than 700 Barges Stuck in Mississippi River From Bridge Crack

 Friday, May 14, 2021

 Transport Topics

A crack in a bridge over the Mississippi River has stranded more than 700 barges, cutting off the biggest route for U.S. agricultural exports when the critical waterway is at its busiest.

The river is shut near Memphis while the Tennessee Department of Transportation inspects a large crack found in a highway bridge spanning the waterway, the U.S. Coast Guard said May 13.

Corn futures tumbled by the most allowed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on speculation that exports would be backed up.

The Mississippi River is the main artery for U.S. crop exports, with covered barges full of grain and soy floating to terminals along the Gulf of Mexico.

Any sustained outage could disrupt shipments out of the Gulf, although traders can also send some supplies on trains and divert to ports along the U.S. Pacific Northwest.