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Logistical problems are threatening US chemical plants

May 13/2011

(ICIS) -- Logistical problems are threatening US chemical plants along the swollen Mississippi river as water levels continue to rise, sources said on Thursday. Already, the river along Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is at 43.1 feet (13.1m), placing it in a major flood stage, according to the National Weather Service. During such a stage, shipping and industrial activities will be "significantly affected", the National Weather Service said. Unprotected low-lying areas will be flooded.

So far, the US Coast Guard has not increased the safety restrictions imposed on Monday, which required ships to contact a traffic control centre at Baton Rouge.

The river is expected to crest at Baton Rouge on 22 May at 47.5 feet, breaking the record set in 1927, the weather service said.

To relieve pressure on the river, the US Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

The Mississippi flooding has already created delays in the hydrochloric acid (HCl) and caustic soda markets. A barge source said the disruptions along the river were anticipated to last until mid-June.

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