Army Corps praised for efforts
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Shippers who have idled towboats and lightened barge loads as the Mississippi River shrinks from drought credit the waterway’s stewards for so far averting their worst fear: a potentially crippling shutdown of the artery used to move everything from corn and grain to construction materials and petroleum.
Barge operators still are being squeezed financially because of restrictions on the waterway. But “the Army Corps of Engineers has done a great job of pulling rabbits out of their hat” by scrambling to rid one crucial river stretch of treacherous bedrock while strategically releasing water from lakes into the Mississippi to raise the river, said Rick Calhoun, president of Cargo Carriers, Cargill Inc.’s shipping arm with 1,300 barges.
“We believed it was an oncoming crisis, and by hook and by crook it hasn’t gotten as bad as we thought,” he added. “That’s great news.”
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