The recent closure of the Mississippi River due to low
releases of water flows from the Missouri River
and drought conditions underscores
the critical importance of river transportation infrastructure
to the economy
of the mid-west region and the nation. The Upper Mississippi River Basin and
the Missouri River are essential to our nation's economy, as is the lock and
dam system which makes the rivers navigable and provide major arteries for
commerce in America's agricultural and industrial heartland.
"More than 150 million tons of commerce valued at over $24 billion flows
annually into, out of, and within the Upper Mississippi River Basin on America's
Navigation System. The building blocks of our nation such as grain, coal,
petroleum and chemicals are dependent on these vital transportation arteries,"
said Barry Palmer, President & CEO of Waterways Work!
More than 650 manufacturing facilities, terminals, power plants and docks
located in the Upper Mississippi River Basin ship and receive tonnage on the
river. 54 million tons of river transported grain commodities are exported to
world markets. Over 27 million tons of coal are supplied on the river to more
than 18 power plants providing electrical power generation to millions of
residents and industrial facilities throughout the basin. The Port of Metropolitan
St. Louis is the second largest inland port in the United States.
"Our waterways transport cargo equal
to 40 million trucks or 10 million rail
cars each year. We must keep these vital water transportation arteries open
and efficient for our nation's economy to flourish," continued Palmer.