Market News & Headlines >> Mississippi River Level Record Low at Memphis

Low river levels continue to slow transportation of grain to U.S. Gulf of Mexico export terminals, and the Mississippi River level on Tuesday hit a new record low at Memphis, breaking the previous record low set last fall, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Mississippi level had fallen to minus 11.13 feet on the gage at Memphis as of 5:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, surpassing the record low of minus 10.81 feet recorded on Oct. 21 of last year, according to NOAA’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Any reading below minus 5 feet is considered low.

Although rains are expected to move across the Midwest Wednesday through Friday, NOAA is not predicting improvement in the water level at Memphis, as it forecasts the river will stay below minus 11.0 feet out through at least Oct. 23.

Despite the low river level, barge freight rates on the Cairo-Memphis section of the River have been falling in recent days and are well  below a year ago. However, there is concern rates will rise toward last year’s record levels if the river remains low.