Barge traffic on the Missouri River could return to Iowa next spring, Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge said Friday.
"This is great news for the Sioux City and Council Bluffs area. We need a fully operational barge system on the Missouri River," Judge said. "This important service will bring agricultural products, such as fertilizers, into Iowa and help move commodities out of Iowa,"
Judge said Missouri River shippers and terminal operators are optimistic that the tow operators will return to service.
Dry conditions in the western part of the United States over the last several years caused lowered river levels and shortened significantly the navigation season.
In addition, litigation by upstream states over recreational uses of the river, caused the U.S. Corps of Engineers to alter flows.
This year marked the first since navigation began on the Missouri in the early 1960s that Sioux City didn't have a barge season in the spring.
Sioux City shippers recently met with officials from several towing companies and came out of the meeting with the news that tow operators will return to service by spring 2005, Judge said.