* Some grain elevators unable to load barges as water rises
* Grain prices up on supply concern, reopen date uncertain
* Most locks from 12 to 24 to close as floodwaters swell
By Karl Plume
June 25 Rising water on the Mississippi River
will force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close numerous
locks on the major shipping waterway for the second time this
month, from central Iowa to central Missouri.
The river is already above flood stage at numerous locations
following recent heavy rains and more precipitation is in the
forecast for the region.
The river is the main barge shipping channel for moving
grain from Midwest production areas to export terminals at the
Gulf Coast. Some 60 percent of all U.S. grain exports are
shipped via the Gulf.
Corps engineers, who manage locks and dams throughout the
inland waterways system, have to remove critical lock operating
equipment when the river gets too high.
Lock 12 near Bellevue, Iowa, was expected to close early on
Thursday, along with locks 16 and 17 further downriver, said
Army Corps Rock Island District spokesman Ron Fournier. Locks
13, 18, and 20 through 22 were forecast to close between June 29
and July 2, he added.
At Lock 24 in Clarksville, Missouri, the river was expected
to hit the lock closure stage around July 4 or 5, said Michael
Petersen, St. Louis District spokesman for the Corps.
Neither had a reliable forecast for reopening the locks due
to unpredictable weather.
The rising river also prevented some grain elevators in the
flooded areas from loading grain barges, because the vessels
were unable to get under the loading spout that hangs above the
Fears that the shipping disruptions may persist raised
prices for spot barge loads of corn and soybeans at the Gulf
Coast by 7 to 10 cents per bushel on Tuesday.
(Editing by Dan Grebler)