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Flooding Mississippi Hitting Local Barge Companies Hard

Michael Calhoun
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(Bruce Forster/Getty Images)

(Bruce Forster/Getty Images)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -  They may be dealing with the actual flood waters from Memphis south to the Gulf of Mexico, but the impact is being felt all along the length of the mighty Mississippi — including right here in St. Louis.

Jim Patterson owns Osage Marine Services on Wharf Street.

Ask him how the Great Flood of  ’11 is impacting business and he won’t hesitate to tell you.

“It’s huge.  It’s in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” Patterson tells KMOX News.

He explains that the number of imports and exports has been cut in half, creating a devastating domino effect.

“You have plants up there that depend on chemicals that aren’t getting through,” Patterson says, “and they may have to shut down, so you have job losses.”

Worse yet, he says, Osage Marine has been limited in the size and number of barges it can use on the swollen Mississippi, and he doesn’t expect business to be back to normal for another six weeks or so.

Patterson adds that the biggest impact right now is on grain and coal shipped out of St. Louis.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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