BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC33) — A vital port in northern Louisiana is virtually shut down because of low water levels on the Mississippi. It couldn't have come at a worse time, as shippers from our state are poised to see record loads come down in a matter of days.
The super highway, is shut-down and that means big losses for everyone from midwest farmers, to Baton Rouge shippers, if it doesn't reopen soon.
"We have record crops, record prices, but we have to get them down the super highway, that is the river," said Mike Strain, commissioner of agriculture.
Strain said maintenance and dredging on the Mississippi River has been lagging in years past. He said lack of dredging and the midwest drought have stopped all barges from crossing past the Port of Lake Providence.
Strain said a quarter of a billion dollars worth of grain is potentially at risk of total loss.
Strain said all elected officials, from the governor to our U.S. Congressmen are lobbying to get emergency dredge work done to open up the river. Strain said it's the only feasible way to transport America's goods to the world market.
"One barge tow is the equivalent of 200 rail cars or 1,000 trucks," Strain said.
The commissioner said that high-powered dredging equipment is en route to where the river is closed at Lake Providence. He said dredging to open up the river should begin within the week.