Funding from the United Soybean Board will support research and education regarding dredging and channel improvements on the Mississippi River near the Port of New Orleans. USB chair Keith Tapp says the research on deepening the channel could “improve global competitiveness and capabilities,” which in turn makes it easier to deliver products to export customers.
The project sets the foundation needed to improve the draft of the lower Mississippi River from 45 feet to 50 feet. Deepening the channel to 50 feet will allow a load increase from 66,000 metric tons to 78,000 metric tons, saving upward of $20 per metric ton when loading greater volumes onto one ship. The savings are expected to translate to a margin of 13 cents per bushel for barge river elevators exporting soybeans.
USB is providing $2 million to help offset research costs related to the project. The American Soybean Association, the Soy Transportation Coalition and several state soybean groups are also funding the research.