2012-08-11 — thetrumpet.com
Already, the cost to ship bulk goods is rising. As the weight that can be put on barges shrinks, the cost per unit weight is rising. And that translates into higher costs on the consumers' end. Products that are already only marginally profitable may not be economic at these higher transport costs.
The last time the Mississippi shut down due to low water was in 1988. Then just a small section of the river became unnavigable--but it cost the shipping industry $1 billion.
If the Mississippi shut down today, sources quoted by NBC estimate that the direct costs to the economy would be a massive $300 million per day--a cost that would skyrocket exponentially if the river did not reopen after more than a few days!
Making matters worse for barge traffic, last year's record flood stirred up debris and changed the location of underwater obstructions. The Army Corps of Engineers is working like crazy to dredge shallow areas and mark dangers.
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