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View Diary: Drought and Low Water: The Mississippi May Be Unnavigable Within Weeks (191 comments)

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  •  The big problem isn't the Port of Duluth-Superior (5+ / 0-)

    Although it is currently America's 18th largest export port by tonnage (not the 6th largest), it is dwarfed by the Port of South Louisiana, out of which the great majority of our grain is exported.  The reason is that it's much cheaper to transport barges down-river than up-river, and that any grain exported out of the Port of Duluth-Superior must reach the port by truck or railroad, since it's not on an inland navigable waterway.

    Here is a link to the most recent tonnage statistics I could find, which are from 2010:

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:40:44 AM PST

    •  18th largest port total. 6th largest international (0+ / 0-)

      export point in the US.

      •  Did you look at my link? (0+ / 0-)

        It clearly shows the Port of Duluth-Superior to be 18th in export tonnage, as well as total trade tonnage.  Duluth-Superior's export tonnage was 9,330,806 tons.  There were 17 ports with higher export tonnage than that, ranging from South Louisiana at #1 with 73,983,660 tons to #17 Port of Oakland at 9,609,773 tons.  

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:11:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Duluth is not anywhere near the Mississippi. (0+ / 0-)

        Land-based transport is required - and for quite a distance - to get anything to the Duluth port from the Twin Cities, which is the furthest north the Mississippi is navigable.

        It's a very important port, but I'm not sure how much of its exports come from stuff shipped north on the Mississippi. A large amount of its tonnage is in taconite, mined in the northern half of the state and railed or trucked to the port.

        Grains are definitely shipped out of there as well, but I'm not as familiar with the trading patterns and transfers involved. I just know they aren't popping off the Mississippi and onto a boat unless Harry Potter is involved.

    •  Well shux...I'll update to remove the 6th... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leevank, SadieSue

      thanks for the cross reference!

      •  I assume your #6 was based on the Wikipedia list (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Muskegon Critic, SadieSue

        It's old, and since it links to a broken link, who knows whether it was ever accurate.  Although I think a factor in the change was that bulkers are getting progressively bigger, and only pretty small ones are able to get through the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Most of them these days are too big to make it through the Panama Canal, much less the St. Lawrence Seaway.  On a regular basis, we have bulkers loaded with coal leaving the Port of Baltimore headed to the Far East via the Cape of Good Hope because they're too big to make it through the Panama Canal, even though it's a MUCH longer trip that way.  The Suez Canal, which permits bigger vessels than the Panama Canal, would be an alternative for some of them, but exposes ships as slow as loaded bulkers to an extraordinary risk of attack by pirates.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:26:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, I used wiki to crossreference my rusty memory (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          of a book I read which i won't mention because I don't want to implicate it as having wrong information. I probably just remembered poorly.

          Muskegon is also a port-town, though certainly not on the scale of Duluth. This year we've been getting quite a few salties in Muskegon Lake importing wind turbine blades, and exporting wind turbine blade molds.

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