Most-recent data from USDA show barge freight costs rose to 224 on the transportation cost index, a two-month high. Rail’s index level has remained steady at 284 since the beginning of October, while truck rates have fluctuated between 204 and 207 since mid-September.
Freight costs for barge shipments were quite elevated during Jun-Aug, due in part to the trouble Midwest waterways suffered this year from excessive water volume, but cost came down in September. Usually rates continue to decline into December, and the Nov. 13 jump may be followed by a similar decline on the index.
Basis at the Gulf for soybeans has also increased since late September and has averaged around 45 cents per bushel during November, almost 20 cents higher YOY. Corn basis at the Gulf is around 48 cents per bushel, up about 15 cents since the end of September and about 8 cents higher YOY.
Barge transportation cost index by year
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