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Illinois Waterway Closure Scheduled for Next Year


By Austin Ramsey

It is anticipated that major maintenance and repairs will be performed at many lock and dams on the Illinois Waterway during 2020, impacting the way ADM and the grain industry does business on the river. The LaGrange lock closure will halt barge traffic to all river terminals north of Meredosia and will limit the industry’s ability to move grain via the Illinois River system.

Current projections from the Army Corps of Engineers indicate the LaGrange and Peoria Lock & Dams will be closed through the end of September. The Marseilles and Starved Rock Lock & Dams will be closed through the end of October. If the Illinois River is historically the market for your grain, it is imperative that you start to plan for the pending river closure. Basis levels on the river will likely start to weaken in late May or early June as everyone from producers, grain elevators and river elevators empty their grain stocks for a prolonged shut down.

As the harvest of 2020 progresses, space may get tight or even full at river elevators. This will require trucks to move grain to markets further away than historical destinations. Be cognizant of what truck freight costs are and know that they may increase during the harvest of 2020. Do what you can to secure freight to keep the combines rolling.

Above all else, reach out to your local ADM representative and put a plan in place to navigate the impending river closure.