Port Of Osceola Reopens After Low Water Leaves Grain Barges Stranded

(Osceola, AR) What was an economic nightmare for farmers is finally over and tons of grain are finally headed to market.

That’s because the river harbor in Osceola, Arkansas is opened for business again.

A lot of Arkansas’ soybean crop is making its way from farmland into the holds of grain barges at the Port of Osceola.

Consolidated Grain and Barge Company is finally opened again after low water closed down the harbor channel August 23rd.

The closure forced grain truck drivers like J.C. Carter to drive to the port in West Memphis to drop off grain.

The shutdown hit Carter and other drivers hard in the pocketbook, “Higher fuel costs. We haul by the bushel and you quote a man a price as delivered to the river. But somewhere’s else…you lose money.”

The problem was caused by the low water in the Mississippi River.

Thirty fully loaded grain barges were stranded, too heavy to move into the Mississippi River.

The entire port was closed.

A Corp of Engineer’s dredge worked for twelve days scraping the channel floor to ten feet.

The harbor is again full of barges…but Port of Osceola Manager Jeff Worsham says these are a welcomed site, “They’re “fresh” barges and they’ll move out tonight or the next day or two. And we’ll just continue on down the line.”

Each of barges will hold seventeen hundred tons of soybeans.

A tow boat will push full ones to the mouth of the channel where they’ll wait to join other barges headed to New Orleans.

J.C. Carter says the freshly dredged port is the end of an economic nightmare, “It’s really a blessing that we have got it back opened.”

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