Barge Captain Shares Views on Water Levels & Freight

There’s no better way to get a first-hand look at the water levels of the Mississippi River and the impacts on shipments than the pilot house of a river tow boat. Jimmy Cheatham, barge captain on the Western Rivers, otherwise known as Capt-J-Rock on Tik Tok, says they’re doing an excellent job at moving freight right now. However, despite this and the recent snowfall we’ve had, he’s still cautious about the future of the water levels.

Cheatham has been a boat captain for 29 years, working on the river for about 35 years. He says with the warm weather and mild winter, there isn’t any snow to melt off and bring the water levels higher.

Cheatham says they are working to move a lot of agricultural products north into the cities, (Saint Paul, Minnesota) and all destinations in between. 

He says, “We’re seeing fluctuations in commodity transportation with corn movement down slightly and an increased demand for fertilizers and other farm related products.”

He added that if he was a farmer and had the financial ability – he would think about having fertilizer delivered extra early.

“My advice to farmers is to not overspend. Don’t count your money until you get cashed in. And try to pre-plan and pre-stock to prepare for hiccups that might happen throughout the season.”