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High river water docks barges, impacts ag producers

Flooding no barges.jpg
Posted at 4:46 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-06 18:33:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The high river levels are not only affecting houses, businesses and farms, but also how commodities are transported to different cities.

Right now, barges are not allowed to move along the Missouri River because of the strong current.

That affects several businesses who rely on barges to transport their goods.

“It’s very detrimental,” Lucy Fletcher, co-owner of Agriservices of Brunswick said.

Fletcher imports fertilizer and exports grain, and barges are one of the main modes of transportation for her.

“Barge, we think, is the best way from the volumes that we do through our facility. It’s really the best way to get products in and out,” Fletcher said.

Barges are usually at Port KC, but not right now. They can usually handle about 6 barges at a time.

“This is, like, really unusual. This is the first time in the three years that I’ve been here that this has happened where the water is too high. Normally its incredibly reliable,” Mariah Shields, Communication Specialist with Port KC said.

Many agricultural producers will have to shift how they transport their goods, but that can pinch the wallet.

“Unfortunately, for this situation, that’s going to increase costs for them. So it just depends on what they’re able to do,” Shields said.

In this rough year for agricultural producers, it’s yet another pain they’ll have to suffer through.

“We couldn’t take very many years like this,” Fletcher said.

Without the barges on the river, many expect more semis to hit the road to get the goods where they need to go.

With the river levels lowering, there is hope the barges will start running again sometime next week.