Moving Grain: Army Corps of Engineers Endorses Deepening Port of New York and New Jersey

    USACE Endorses Deepening Port of New York and New Jersey

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently endorsed a 4-year study done by USACE and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), which recommends deepening the port to 55 feet, from its current depth of 50 feet. To accommodate longer, larger ships, the study also recommends widening all bends in the channel leading to the port.

    Likewise, the study proposes deepening Ambrose Channel—from its current depth of 58-feet—to help ease supply chain issues. As the main entrance into the lower New York Harbor, a deeper Ambrose Channel would allow ships to enter the harbor with more containers, generate less idle time due to tide restrictions, and allow more post-Panamax ships to call on the East Coast’s busiest box port.

    The port has road and rail reach into 17 States and is a key driver of East Coast economic activity. USACE’s endorsement of the study allows the agency to seek congressional funding in the 2024 Water Resources Development Act to help pay for the recommended projects. PANYNJ will also contribute funds.

    Helena Harbor Awarded $535,000 Grant by Arkansas Waterways Commission

    The Arkansas Waterways Commission recently awarded a grant of $535,000 to the Helena Harbor, West Helena, AR, to support the Helm Fertilizer Terminal expansion at the harbor. The grant will fund a staging lane for 18-wheeler traffic, as well as provide for critical road improvements that enable safer, more efficient operations at Helena Harbor.

    Work is expected to begin in 90 days. Over the next 2 years, Helm Fertilizer plans to invest more than $12 million to expand the terminal’s infrastructure to support agriculture and accommodate increased fertilizer demand.

    ATRI Releases New Report on Recruiting Young Truck Drivers

    A new American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) report released July 11 examines integrating young adults, ages 18 to 25, into trucking careers.

    Grain News on AgFax

    Analyzing data from surveys of young drivers, carrier interviews, and the latest workforce statistics, the research had several key findings: first, though partly motivated by pay, a majority of Millennial and Gen Z drivers consider other factors equally or more important for accepting or staying in a job.

    For example, 84 percent consider company culture important. In another finding, young adults respond positively to marketing materials that feature young employees and highlight expanded career paths. Lastly, structured feedback and coaching were key in successfully training Millennial and Gen Z drivers.

    The research also discusses ways to build the community-centered cultures that young drivers seek and to promote industry awareness among teenagers exploring career ideas. Recruiting young drivers has been widely recognized as a strategy to expand trucking labor pools and ease supply chain challenges.

    Snapshots by Sector

    Export Sales

    For the week ending July 14, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 18.28 million metric tons (mmt), up 5 percent from the same time last year and down 5 percent from the previous week.

    Net corn export sales were 0.034 mmt, down 43 percent from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were 0.204 mmt, up significantly from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales for marketing year 2022/23 were 0.511 mmt, up 50 percent from last week.


    U.S. Class I railroads originated 18,752 grain carloads during the week ending July 16. This was a 10-percent increase from the previous week, 11 percent fewer than last year, and 17 percent fewer than the 3-year average.

    Average August shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $111 above tariff for the week ending July 21. This was $142 more than last week and $228 more than this week last year.


    For the week ending July 23, barged grain movements totaled 564,672 tons. This was 20.4 percent lower than the previous week and 10.3 percent higher than the same period last year.

    For the week ending July 23, 371 grain barges moved down river—75 fewer barges than last week. There were 510 grain barges unloaded in the New Orleans region, 14 percent fewer than last week.


    For the week ending July 21, 26 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—unchanged from the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting July 22), 54 vessels were expected to be loaded—10 percent more than the same period last year.

    As of July 21, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $69.00. This was 3 percent less than the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $40.50 per mt, 1 percent less than the previous week.


    For the week ending July 25, the U.S. average diesel fuel price decreased 16.4 cents from the previous week to $5.268 per gallon, 192.6 cents above the same week last year.

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