Navigation is one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' oldest missions and for the Memphis District, the mission revolves around the Mississippi River. Representing 500 million tons of shipped goods per year (according to the Port of New Orleans), the Mississippi River barge port system is significant to national trade – this is just one of the reasons why ensuring a safe and navigable river year around is a top priority. Bottom line, the Mississippi River is important, but just how important is it?
If the United States discontinued waterways’ shipping…
- About 75 percent of what used to be river-transport cargo would now be transported by truck and/or rail, which causes more than just one problem: more traffic and more pollution. See below for more details.
- It would take 1,050 semi-trucks (and occupy space on U.S. highways by the way) to transport the same amount of freight that ONE standard river tow could move on the river. And if not by truck, it would take 216 rail cars and six locomotives (and a very long time at the tracks waiting for the train to pass).
- Americans (more than half) would see a huge spike in their electric bill – we’re talking more than the regular average increase every year – like more than 7 percent, a lot more.
- Shipping/handling costs would increase drastically – and guess who ultimately pays for it? The consumer.... i.e. you.
The aforementioned are just a few reasons why we take the navigation mission as seriously as we do. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Memphis District are committed to providing the river industry with the safest, most reliable, and the most cost-efficient method for the transportation of commercial goods available today.