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Kansas City Sees More And More Cargo Coming In From The Missouri River

Suzanne Hogan
KCUR 89.3
Since mid-February 2016, Kansas City's Woodswether Terminal has been receiving barges of fertilizer. The unseasonable winter allowed navigators to start earlier than the April 1 flow support day that the Army Corps of Engineers provides.

Kansas City's Woodswether Terminal on the Missouri River has seen the last of its barge traffic for the year. Port KC reopened the public port in 2015 (it closed in 2007), and it looks as if 2016 has been a successful year.

The Army Corps of Engineers only guarantees enough water for navigation from April 1 to the end of November. Last year was an unseasonably warm winter, so the Woodswether Terminal had cargo moving in and out by barge as early as February. 

Now that the last of the barges have come through, Port KC says 45,000 tons of cargo of mostly fertilizer and mill-scale (a steel by product) moved through the port. That's nearly triple the volume it saw in 2015 when the port re-opened. 

When Port KC reopened the terminal, President Michael Collins, was optimistic that the Missouri River would overcome it's reputation as being unreliable for navigation.

"We really want to see the Missouri River provide economic opportunity and commercial activity for everyone it lives near and flows through," said Collins.

Private ports may continue to operate throughout the winter, but the Port KC doesn't expect barges at its public terminal until April, 2017. Port KC projects 2017 to be even more successful than 2016,expecting 70,000 tons of cargo, nearly double of what they saw this year. 

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misidentified the amount of tons of cargo.

Suzanne Hogan is a reporter, producer and announcer for KCUR 89.3 and co-host of the podcast Question Quest

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