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Barge traffic on the Mississippi river is halted by flooding

May 23/2011

(ICIS) -- Flooding on the Mississippi river has begun to halt barge traffic significantly and back up chemical supplies, with some deliveries to Houston already delayed by two months, shipping brokers and other sources said on Friday. Several chemical plants and refineries are on the lower Mississippi river in Louisiana. Houston is the petrochemical hub of the US.

Brokers said shipments were being delayed or cancelled in some cases because of the surging river. One broker said customers in Houston who get monthly barge loads from the Mississippi river have had to delay May and June cargoes to July or August.

The shutdown of freight terminals and ports and partial closures along the river has made the shipment and distribution of goods difficult and, in some cases, impossible.

The rising water is also putting pressure on chemical producers. Georgia Gulf put its phenol and acetone customers on allocation Friday because it cannot move feedstock cumene to a plant in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

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