According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, on March 11, two tows, pushing six barges each, successfully traveled through Lake Pepin, opening the Upper Mississippi River to shipping after its cyclic winter shutdown.

In winter, the Upper Mississippi River typically closes to barge traffic because of cold weather and icy conditions.

As the widest location on the river, Lake Pepin also has the slowest current, so its ice is usually the last to break up.

The tows arrived in St. Paul, MN, on March 12—about a week early compared to last year and the 30-year average.

Nearby barge freight rates can be found for all portions of the river, including the newly reopened Upper Mississippi, in GTR table 8.