To remain competitive in a dynamic and uncertain global marketplace, U.S. agriculture must explore new, innovative options to transport soybeans and other agricultural products in a more reliable, cost-effective, efficient and secure manner. The state of the nation’s multi-modal transportation system is critical to the success of the U.S. agriculture sector, but depending upon its design and condition, it can either help or hinder farmer profitability.
Now, a new maritime vessel offers the potential to transport soybeans and other agricultural products via shipping containers along the nation’s inland waterway system to export facilities near the Gulf of Mexico. If realized, this new supply chain will enable farmers and local elevators to more directly access international customers.
American Patriot Holdings LLC (APH) has developed a patented vessel design that would enable the transport of shipping containers throughout the nation’s inland waterway system. The company’s larger “liner” vessels will be able to transport 2,375 twenty-foot-length containers (TEUs) in a liner service between Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District (PPHTD) – the port complex along the lower Mississippi River closest to the Gulf of Mexico – and both Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis, Mo. The expected round-trip service is seven days between PPHTD and Memphis and 10 days between PPHTD and St. Louis. The vessels will be able to travel at 13 mph with virtually no wake – mitigating shoreline erosion throughout the inland waterway system. A traditional barge flotilla will travel upriver between 4 and 5 mph.
In addition to the liner service to Memphis and St. Louis, APH has designed a smaller “hybrid” vessel capable of transiting the lock and dam portion of the inland waterway system. These vessels – able to transport approximately 1,700 TEUs – will provide access to regions and communities located along the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio and Arkansas rivers. Future service for areas along the upper Mississippi River is currently under evaluation.
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