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Mississippi, Ohio rivers halt chemical barge traffic

April 29/2011

(ICIS) --  High river levels stalled and delayed chemical shipments in the US as spring storms pummeled a wide swath of states and made many barge waterways inoperable, sources said on Thursday. Major flooding on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers was affecting the midwest and lower eastern states, according to the US Geological Survey. 

The swollen waterways have halted barge traffic north of Paducah, Kentucky, said Steve Holcomb, a spokesman for Kirby, the largest US barge operator.

Barges of caustic soda sent by US Gulf coast are at a standstill in numerous cities, unable to offload because of elevated river levels, market sources said.

A US Gulf caustic soda producer confirmed inoperable areas and delays in barge shipments. УIn three or four weeks, this river system is going to be empty,Ф the source said.

The distributor said river swells of up to 53 feet at the Cincinnati port have prevented the offloading of six of its barges, which must offload at a maximum of 48 feet.

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