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Shippers tip hat to Corps for keeping river open

MISSISSIPPI RIVER — Barge operators are crediting the hustle by stewards of the Mississippi River for averting a potentially crippling shutdown of the vital commerce artery.

Shippers say the Army Corps of Engineers has done all it can to keep the river open. Those efforts include ongoing work to rid a stretch of the river south of St. Louis of treacherous bedrock, and the agency’s release of water from lakes to raise the Mississippi’s levels.

The president of Cargill’s shipping arm, Rick Calhoun, says “by hook and by crook it hasn’t gotten as bad as we thought.”

Barge operators since November had worried that the Mississippi might shrink to a level that would force restrictions on how much cargo barges can carry, effectively halting shipping on the river.

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