How weather shocks impact the flow of energy-related goods on the Lower Mississippi River

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2019-04-23

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Abstract

The Lower Mississippi River (LMR) is a pivotal transport route for American imports and exports. Disruptions on the LMR could impact the timely movement of goods up and down the river, particularly energy-related products. This study evaluates how droughts and floods impact energy barge traffic along the LMR. We examine the effect water level has on barge travel rate along various legs of the LMR and on the count of vessels at selected study regions. The results indicate a negative relationship between water level and vessel count: as water level increases, the number of vessels at specific study regions decreases; as water level decreases, the number of vessels at specific study regions increases. Additionally, water level has a greater impact on downstream travel rate for vessels in comparison to upstream travel rate. We find that these results will likely have minimal impact on the energy resiliency of counties along the LMR but could increase energy barge operating costs and thus lead to a modal switch toward less energy efficient and more costly freight alternatives.

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Citation

Murnan, Gabrielle, Yuliya Vanchosovych and Fan Wu (2019). How weather shocks impact the flow of energy-related goods on the Lower Mississippi River. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18377.


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