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US Gulf caustic soda market is bracing for high water levels on the lower Mississippi river

May 10/2011

(ICIS) -- The US Gulf caustic soda market is bracing for record high water levels on the lower Mississippi river in the next few weeks as ongoing flooding in the US midwest makes its way south, sources said on Friday.


The US Coast Guard on Friday closed part of the river at Caruthersville, Missouri, because of the risk that the wakes from vessels could force water over the riverfront floodwall there.


One market source estimated flood levels would reach the lower Mississippi river by the middle of next week.


In addition, the stranded barges already on the river that were unable to offload were likely to incur additional charges, the source said.


A caustic soda producer said high river levels were expected to disrupt barge traffic by the third week of May, which would halt barge loading and offloading. As a result, more caustic-soda railcars were being loaded in order to distribute to US midwest customers.


US Gulf caustic soda producers include Shintech, Formosa, Dow Chemical, PPG Industries and Occidental Chemical (OxyChem).


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