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Mississippi River opened to barge traffic

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By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Barge companies that operate on the Mississippi River say they're encouraged by the speedy effort to restore the port of New Orleans to full capacity.

The Coast Guard opened the entire length of the river to traffic Monday, including large ocean-going vessels previously barred from passage.

Shippers say they don't know how much the delay has cost them. But the American Waterways Operators' Lynn Muench munch says they hope to make up time during the grain harvest:

Obviously, one of our biggest customers is agriculture for the export market, and the harvest is going to begin in earnest in about four to six weeks, Muench said. And we're going to make sure that we can take care of our customers when that
happens.

Some farmers have shifted their product to railroads and trucks, which officials say is raising transportation costs.

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