Flooding halts railroads, cripples agriculture along Missouri River
- Snow melt and heavy rain have caused record flooding in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri — all along the Missouri river — bringing parts of the supply chain in the Midwest to a stop for the last week.
- BNSF and Union Pacific are both facing multiple service interruptions including closing lines with very limited rerouting options. "BNSF crews are assessing main line locations impacted by flooding and are making the necessary repairs where possible to restore service. As always, safety is our highest priority. With the current extent of the flooding, service outages may continue in some locations for an extended period," BNSF published in a notice to customers.
- Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has called on the National Guard to support the Department of Transportation and Nebraska State Patrol.
With spring finally on the way, this is not the time of year that railroads tend to worry about track problems, even in the northern Midwest. And after a harsh winter, this disaster is essentially adding up to a first quarter deflated by supply chain disruptions for the area.
The flooding hit many agriculture areas. This part of the country is a major center for U.S. grain production, and the U.S. trade war with China has led many farms to store their crops from the 2018 harvest to wait for better times. The record flooding threatens to ruin those stores. The value of lost agricultural products, including livestock, could be near $1 billion just in Nebraska, Reuters reported.
Further, permanent damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure which could continue to stunt the areas economic recovery will only be visible as the waters recede.
Flooding is expected to continue in Nebraska as more snow melts. Any supply chain players with the capacity to donate should reach out to American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN).
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