PADUCAH — From coast to coast, various factors have impacted shipping. The slowdowns are impacting Ohio River traffic.
Damon Judd with Marquette Transportation in Paducah said that it’s not really the West Coast shipping bottlenecks that have impacted the local area.
Instead, the shipping industry is still recovering from Hurricane Ida from the end of August.
The Ohio River is where materials are shipped inland, and there’s a big advantage to float product.
It slips by towns, cities and congestion in the middle of the night.
And for the most part, products travel smoothly to their destination.
However, when New Orleans was hit by Ida, that caused a ripple effect to shipping on the Ohio River.
“If you look prior to the storm and post the storm, the value of grain went down about a dollar a barrel in the interior, so that was the cost of losing access to export markets through New Orleans as a result of the industry view that there was going to be pretty prolonged closures as everyone cleared up after the storm and we got facilities back online,” said Judd, the CEO and president of Marquette Transportation.
A little less than 600 billion tons of material moves in the waterway system, Judd said.
That includes big, heavy commodities, long distances and large equipment.
Whether it’s coal, chemicals, steel, rock or some kind of agricultural product, if it’s a bulk commodity, it’s well suited for the river system.
Shipping industry leaders praised the efficiency of the waterways at a panel Thursday hosted by the Paducah Chamber of Commerce.
“Reliability of the lock and dam infrastructure on the waterways is really the foundation that makes the waterways what it is,” said Matt Ricketts, the president and CEO of Crounse Corporation. “It enhances or allows us to take advantage of a natural resource that is unmatched anywhere else in the world.”
Ingram Barge, Crounse Corporation, and Maritime Administration’s Inland Waterways Gateway Office were present at the panel.
Judd said everything’s fairly congested at this point, whether it’s commercial goods or bulk materials.
The grain season typically happens now in mid-October.
However, Judd’s shipping company is seeing less activity compared to previous seasons.