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Shipping Infrastructure Problems Roiling the River Oct 27, 2014 - Autumn means rush hour on the Mississippi River, and this year looks to be even more frantic than most. For barge shippers still reeling from one of the most difficult seasons in memory, and with a record corn and soybean harvest underway, one of the state’s most important transportation links is being strained to its breaking point at a critical time of the year. Some of the effects are being seen in supplies of cement and road salt, key commodities shipped upriver. Heading downriver, to which 60 to 70 percent of U.S. grain exports are shipped, silt has put a crimp on shipping capacity from Minnesota river ports. While this year has presented a series of short-term problems, those who work on the river and know its economic importance to the state say it has put sharper focus on both the fragility of that transportation system and the urgency of updating its Depression-era infrastructure.
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