Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The Ohio River
Unloading grain at the river yesterday made me think of all the value that is barged up and down the river. It is an awesome number and the US Corps of Army Engineers has a handle on it.
Along with Iron & Steel grain is the Ohio River basin’s fourth largest commodity group. There were 145 waterside grain elevators, plants and terminals in the basin, which shipped or received grain by barge in 2008.
Ohio River System waterways serve grain shippers primarily by affording access to the export and industrial markets for grain. These markets have been the most dynamic sector of the grain market and the strong growth in grain traffic in the basin reflects the prominence of these sectors in waterborne movements. Large movements of grains are made by water out of the basin to the export market through lower Mississippi River ports. The only other significant movements of barged grains are those to the South, most importantly to processors in the Tennessee River Valley.
Grain shipments on the Ohio River basin’s waterways totaled over 14 million tons in 2008, or 5.2% of all barge cargo. Of this amount, approximately 1.2 million tons were shipped into the basin from outside. Just over 10.5 million tons were shipped out of the basin, and about 1.8 million tons moved within the Ohio River System. The 13.5 million tons moving by barge in 2008 had a combined value of over $2.3 billion, which is almost 7.6 per cent of the value of the basin’s commodities moving by water.
The largest grain commodity that moves by barge in the basin is corn. Almost all of the more than 7.0 million tons of corn which moved in 2008 fell into one of two categories: moving from the upper Mississippi, Illinois River or Ohio River to the Tennessee River for processing (24.3%); or moving from the lower Ohio River to the lower Mississippi River for export (75.7%). Soybeans are the second ranking waterborne grain.
Ohio River Basin Barge Traffic – 2008 (values in millions of $) Millions of dollars!
ANIMAL FEED, PREPS
GRAIN MILL PRODUCTS
BARLEY & RYE
Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterborne Commerce Statistics
Most of the grain that is moved by barge in the Ohio River basin originated in Illinois. Corn, oilseeds, soybeans, wheat and animal feed preparations were shipped out of Illinois on the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
Ohio River Basin Barge Traffic
Grain Shipped by State – 2008
(values in millions of $)
The main destinations for grain barges originating in the basin were export facilities in Louisiana. Within the basin, processing plants in Decatur and Guntersville Alabama and Loudoun and Chattanooga Tennessee were major destinations for corn and other grains.
Grain Received by State – 2008 (values in millions of $)
You would think Ohio would contribute more to the Ohio River traffic but it doesn't. The basin is much larger than you would think.
Millions of dollars worth of products float by Cincinnati every day. It is nothing short of amazing.
It is probably how some of our families got here, too.