JEFFERSON CITY – When the long haul boat the M/V Mary Lynn headed out from St. Louis recently, she was a full month ahead of schedule pushing cargo barges along the Missouri River.
The shipping season on the Missouri River usually starts in April, but a mild winter and good river conditions allowed the crew to get an early start. Feb. 28 marked the first day of the 2012 shipping season for the Mary Lynn, which made its way to Hermann and Brunswick, Mo. with shipments of fertilizer and clay. The barges were then filled with Missouri soybeans at Brunswick and sent on to national and international markets.
Missouri Dept. of Transportation supports all waterway shipping efforts along the Missouri River. An increase in freight moved on the Missouri River means increased connections to other transportation modes and more economic development opportunities along the river corridor.
“One barge of freight is comparable to almost 60 tractor trailers,” said Cheryl Ball, MoDOT Administrator of Freight Development. “If a company can transport by barge on the river, it can save money, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and relieve traffic congestion on our crowded highways.”
AGRIServices, Inc. of Brunswick is the company receiving the fertilizer delivered by the Mary Lynn. One of AGRIServices’ distribution managers, Kevin Holcer, says the company uses the Missouri River frequently to transport goods.
“We are excited to see the barge traffic starting early on the Missouri River so we can recharge our warehouse,” said Holcer. “The more barges we can bring up the Missouri loaded with fertilizer, the better prepared we are for our customers’ needs.”
Last year, just over four million tons of goods – the equivalent of about 156,000 truck loads – were shipped on the Missouri River. A recent analysis of the public ports at St. Joseph, Kansas City, and Howard/Cooper County and the private ports at Hermann and Brunswick concluded that over 1.3 million tons of additional cargo could be moved off the interstate highway system with minimal investment at these locations.
“Missouri River navigators, such as those operating the Mary Lynn, can deliver products reliably to their customers and they are becoming an
increasingly important component of the transportation system,” said Ball.
“With the cooperative efforts of the Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, river boat navigators and port authorities, MoDOT hopes this avenue for freight transport continues to grow.”