HAS THE INLAND NAVIGATION SYSTEM DECLINED IN IMPORTANCE? A CASE STUDY OF THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI

The volume of commodities moved by barge on the Upper Mississippi River grew consistently for nearly 50 years, from the 1930s into the 1980s. However, volumes peaked in 1983 and 1984, and were followed by unprecedented declines in the latter half of the 1980s. This abrupt decline raised a number of important questions. Is the decline permanent or an aberration? Has commercial navigation lost its competitiveness? Have there been any structural changes in the economy that reduce the need for commodities shipped by barge? This paper uses a unique data set to review long-term and recent trends in barge shipments and receipts in the Minneapolis-St. Paul port area on the Upper Mississippi River. The researchers found that the quantities of two specific commodities moved to and from the Twin Cities on the Upper Mississippi--coal and wheat--have declined permanently. Other commodities, however, have shown continued growth and reached all time highs in the 1990s (corn shipments, cement, chemicals, and fertilizer receipts). In fact, ton-miles (as opposed to tons) and the volume of long distance shipments of Twin Cities waterborne movements, appear to have reached an all time high in 1992.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Publication. This research was also supported by the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Minnesota, St Paul

    Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
    St Paul, MN  United States  55108
  • Authors:
    • Fruin, J E
    • Halbach, D W
  • Publication Date: 1996

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 27 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00723559
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Publication number 21427
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 19 1996 12:00AM