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Study shows economic impacts of unscheduled lock outages

AUDIO: Deb Calhoun, National Waterways Foundation 

The National Waterways Foundation (NWF), and the Maritime Administration (MARAD), have released a study examining the economic impacts of unscheduled lock outages.

Secretary of the National Waterways Foundation Deb Calhoun says “The Impacts of Unscheduled Lock Outages” report looked at four geographically different locks on the inland waterways system.

“It looked at the Markland Locks and Dam (Ohio River near Cincinnati), Calcasieu Lock (Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Louisiana), LaGrange Lock and Dam (southern-most of the navigation structures on the Illinois River), and Lock and Dam 25 (Mississippi River, north of St. Louis),” Calhoun says.

These four locks support traffic on every segment of the Mississippi River system. Calhoun says more unscheduled closures will become costly.

“It really disrupts the shipper supply chain of an amount of more than $1 billion annually.  At Markland Locks and Dam, you’re looking at $1.3 billion; at Calcasieu Lock, $1.1 billion; at LaGrange and/or Lock and Dam 25, is estimated to exceed $1.5 billion at either lock annually.”

Calhoun says it cuts into the bottom line of the farmer and shippers.

“It’s also disrupting the supply chain in terms of what it takes to move cargo and other means beside inland waterways if they are available. (This means) a tremendous number of additional trucks and railcars.”

The study was conducted by the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University.