Moving Grain: Arkansas River Navigation Recovering

The Big Dam Bridge, built on top of the Murray Lock and Dam of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. Photo: Eric in SF, Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas River Navigation Recovering

The Arkansas River recently reopened for navigation to the Port of Catoosa, which is located near Tulsa, OK, and is the head of navigation for the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). Dredging and lock repair work (including removing a grounded barge at Lock 16) is finished, and planned navigation resumed on October 2.

For the week ending October 12, 51 barges transited Lock 1, the last lock before the confluence of the MKARNS—which serves ports in Arkansas and Oklahoma—and the Mississippi. This is the largest number of barges through the lock since March 23, 2019.

Tow size restrictions of six barges are still in effect, with plans to add buoys during November that may allow the maximum tow size to increase to 12 barges per tow.

Panama Canal Lock Maintenance Tentatively Scheduled, Reducing Transit Capacity

The East Lane of the Pedro Miguel Panamax Locks on the Panama Canal will be closed for 5 hours, for maintenance and repair work, on October 17, 2019. The estimated transit capacity of the Canal due to the maintenance work is 30-32 vessels per day, rather than the normal transit capacity of 32-34 vessels, depending on vessel mix and other factors.

Also, the East lane of Miraflores Locks will be closed on October 24 for 8 hours due to scheduled maintenance work. The transit capacity will be reduced to 29-31 vessels instead of the usual 32-34 vessels per day. At this time, no major delays are anticipated.

Grain Inspections Recede

For the week ending October 10, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions reached 2 million metric tons (mmt). Inspections are down 6 percent from the previous week, down 29 percent from last year, and 31 percent below the 3-year average.

Total inspections of wheat and corn decreased 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively, from the previous week. Inspections of soybeans, however, were down 9 percent from the previous week. Mississippi Gulf grain inspections decreased 1 percent from week to week, but Pacific Northwest (PNW) inspections increased 5 percent, due primarily to more soybean inspections.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending October 3, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 24.8 mmt. This represents a 31-percent decrease in outstanding sales, compared to the same time last year. Net corn export sales reached .284 mmt, down 49 percent from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 2.09 mmt, unchanged from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales reached .522 mmt, up 59 percent from the previous week.

Grain News on AgFax


Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 19,698 grain carloads during the week ending October 5. This is a 10-percent increase from the previous week, 13 percent less than last year, and 20 percent lower than the 3-year average.

Average October shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $31 above tariff for the week ending October 10. This is $31 less than last week and $131 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

Barge

For the week ending October 12, barge grain movements totaled 519,856 tons. This is a 2.5-percent increase from the previous week and 1 percent more than the same period last year.

For the week ending October 12, 327 grain barges moved down river. This is 13 more barges than the previous week. There were 736 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 10 percent more than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending October 10, 31 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—21 percent fewer than the same period last year. Forty-five vessels are expected to be loaded within the next 10 days (starting October 11). This is 30 percent fewer than the same period last year.

As of October 10, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $51.50. This is relatively unchanged from the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $28.50 per mt, unchanged from the previous week.

Fuel

For the week ending October 14, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 0.4 cents from the previous week to $3.051 per gallon. This price is 34.3 cents less than the same week last year.

Full report.


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