The predicted rebound in river traffic in the Arkansas River System has begun to manifest itself these previous months. The tonnage increased up to 3.4 percent through September compared to the same period last year.
2021 vs. 2021 Reports
The effects of Hurricane Ida that occurred last August and the shutdown of dams for repairs have limited the scope of the rebound.
In a report by Talk Business & Politics, The overall tonnage shipped during the first nine months of 2021 was 7.942 million tons, an increase of 3.4 percent in comparison to the entire tonnage shipped during the same period the previous year. Last month, the shipments reached a total of 825,577 tons, from the 768,285 tons in September last year.
Shipments that come from outside the river system reached 2.981 million tons in the first nine months of 2021, an increase of 13 percent compared to the same period in 2020. Outbound shipments reached 2.527 million tons, a decrease of four percent compared to the same period in the previous year. Internal shipments reached 2.433 million tons, indicating a 0.5 percent increase over the same time last year.
River Traffic In 2021
According to Ryan Day, executive director of Little Rock port, the barge traffic halted until the second week of September. This is due to the shutdown of the David D. Terry Lock and Dam, which was being repaired. Day added that the barge traffic at the state’s busiest port has decreased for the year.
Marty Shell, a member of the Arkansas Waterways Commission and the president of Van Buren-based Five Rivers Distribution, stated that Hurricane Ida’s damage would affect river traffic, particularly with supply chain concerns affecting other modes of transportation.
Over the last two years, river traffic has been affected by unprecedented flooding and an economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, river tonnage totaled just 8.48 million tons, dropping 22 percent from 2018. However, tonnage increased by 22 percent to 10.322 million tons in 2020.
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