Of the 51 million bushels of soybeans shipped out of state in 2011, 34 percent were shipped by barge on the Ohio River with the major destination being the port of New Orleans.
Barge transportation on waterways is the economically beneficial and environmentally friendly way to move soybeans to domestic and foreign markets. The Ohio River serves as a major mover of Indiana soybeans to out of state and out of country markets.
Waterway Maintenance Protects Producer Profits
Delays and inefficiencies from deteriorating locks and dams cause higher costs per mile for shippers and, consequently, higher transportation costs per bushel (or per pound) of freight. As a result, the grain elevator pays increased freight charges that they pass on to the farmer in the form of a lower margin per bushel.
Without necessary upgrades and repairs, the competitive factors that are gained from the state's waterways will be lost because unanticipated repair closures will cause greater disruption to waterway traffic flow over time.
Without well-maintained waterways, Indiana’s corn industry is in danger:
- The corn transported out of Indiana using barges on waterways would have to be moved out of state using the already overloaded rail and road systems.
- Animal feed manufacturers, livestock operations and bean processors throughout the U.S. would have to source their corn from more reliable areas.
- The U.S. would struggle to move enough corn to major harbors like New Orleans to meet the demand from overseas customers in Asia, Mexico and Europe.