Cargo has started moving again on the Missouri River ahead of the official start of the shipping season.  Click to hear Freight Development Administrator with MoDOT Ernie Perry:

Ernie Perry

Press Release from the Missouri Department of Transportation

JEFFERSON CITY – Cargo returns to the Missouri River this week with expectations for the biggest shipping season in a decade!

Today, Jefferson City’s River Terminal expects to receive 6,000 tons of cement. AGRIServices of Brunswick will start pushing more than 9,000 tons of fertilizer up the Missouri river on Wednesday, and Hermann Sand and Gravel plans to start moving freight later this week, signifying the unofficial start of the 2011 shipping season.

The official start is April 1 when the U.S. Coast Guard places navigational buoys on the river, but Kevin Holcer of AGRIServices said, “The water levels are good enough to get our shipping season started early, and we expect to be busy through mid-December.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation supports all waterway shipping efforts along the Missouri river.

“Our goal is to increase the freight moved on the Missouri River, increase connections to other transportation modes, and provide economic development opportunities along the river corridor,” Dr. Ernie Perry, freight development administrator at MoDOT, said.

AGRIServices is one of a number of shipping companies that will try to bolster their efforts on the river this year.

“We expect to increase our shipping efforts by up to 15 percent,” said Holcer. “Last year’s success brought us good momentum, and we don’t want to slow down.”

The M/V Mary Lynn, a 3800 horse power shallow draft boat ideal for Missouri River navigation, will push eight barges up the Missouri river, beginning in St. Louis on Wednesday. This load is expected to arrive in Brunswick by Sunday.

“The Missouri River is the best way to move freight,” said Holcer. “This is a viable shipping option that can save money, lower carbon dioxide emissions and relieve stress on our crowded freeways.”

Perry agrees, “One barge equals the same amount of cargo that fits into 70 semi-trucks or 16 rail cars.”
Last year, about 334,000 tons of goods – the equivalent of 13,000 tractor truck loads – was shipped on the Missouri River, a 24 percent increase from the year before.