U.S. Exporters Face More Strains as Bridge Crisis Halts Barges



Breanna T Bradham | Bloomberg

The vital shipping artery that snakes through the middle of America and carries barges loaded with corn bound for China and other export markets has been blocked by a crack in a bridge.

Marine traffic on the Mississippi River is being halted around Memphis, Tennessee, where a fractured steel support under the Hernando DeSoto Bridge found earlier this week has diverted vehicular traffic and led to a pile-up of more than 900 barges on the water.

“The river is the jugular for the export market in the Midwest for both corn and beans,” said Collin Hulse, a senior risk management consultant at StoneX in Kansas City.

People briefed on the situation said late Thursday the river could be open within 24 to 48 hours after a second engineering review is done.

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