Low river levels create problems for tow companies - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Low river levels create problems for tow companies

(Source: Don Frazier/KFVS) (Source: Don Frazier/KFVS)
(KFVS) -

Between aging lock and dams and little rain over the past few months, getting goods up and down river systems in the Heartland is difficult according to Hunter Marine Port Captain, Reggie Tubbs.

"We basically do not have enough water to operate at this time," Tubbs said.

He said the ages of locks 52 and 53 on the Ohio River are making it hard to create pools for tow boats to operate on the river. These lower channels result in vessels having to lighten their load to avoid sudden grounding. 

Tubbs said  these locks have been a problem for several weeks but are in the process of repair. 

However, he said what is needed most is more rain to fill the rivers. 

These conditions are causing less boats to be on the water as well, he said, as water levels lower they also create more narrow channels. If too many boats are on the river, it could cause bottle necking according to Tubbs. 

As a result, boat captains and pilots are required to move the lighter barges at a slower rate said Motor Vessel Pilot Scott Alvey, who works for Tubbs. 

What these problems are really costing is money. 

"A company our size, right now, we’re losing thousands a day. Then, you take larger companies losing probably hundreds of thousands a day. So then you do that industry wide, you know, you’re talking millions a day," said Tubbs. 

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