Missouri Ag Director Richard Fordyce says his close inspection of the Panama Canal expansion project encourages him about grain transportation out the state. He tells Brownfield that the bigger vessels loaded in New Orleans and accommodated by the expanded canal will help funnel farm products for export.
“From a freight perspective it will be advantageous for that grain to flow back toward the Mississippi,” said Fordyce, in an interview with Brownfield Ag News. “That also could be critically important to see increased travel on the Missouri.”
Fordyce, who accompanied Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to Panama this past week, says the Mississippi River is adequately used to ship products, but he says that at this point, the Missouri River is underused.
“With the expansion of the canal, I think we could see additional emphasis and maybe resources put along the Missouri to facilitate barge travel back over the Mississippi and on down to the gulf, load it on a ship, go through the new canal with reduced freight rates,” said Fordyce.
The Panama Canal expansion project is scheduled to be opened this year.