Water levels are down, barge rates are up

Water levels are continuing to fall on key sections of the Mississippi River, raising fears of another autumn shipping crisis like that of 2022.

The squeeze on barge rates was spelled out Thursday in the Department of Agriculture’s weekly Grain Transportation Report. 

“Restrictions — which have grown increasingly stringent since June — lower the amount of grain allowed to be loaded on a barge,” the report said. “As a result, barge supply has tightened, because more barges than normal are required to ship the same amount of grain.”

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Restrictions on grain exports to Vietnam lifted

Vietnam will lift restrictions on grain exports from countries where creeping thistle is found, a move expected to allow U.S., Canada and Europe more direct access to the market.

A revised quarantine pest list without creeping thistle will go into effect Sept. 29, according to Cereals Canada. The move, which follows advocacy efforts from Canada’s government and agriculture industry, will allow the country to resume bulk wheat shipments for the first time since 2018, according to the trade group.

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FedEx announces custom fees and shipping rates increase

FedEx announced August 29 that it would be raising its shipping rates and customs clearance service fees on imports starting January 1, 2024.

FedEx shipping rates are expected to grow by an average of 5.9% for U.S. domestic, export and import services, the company said in a statement. The organization will be increasing its shipping rates for its Ground and Home Delivery business units by 5.9% as well, according to Reuters.

Though FedEx Freight Shipping rates will grow by an average of 5.9% to 6.9%, those new rates will only apply to shipments within the U.S. the company said.

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