A barge travels along the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2021. Photographer: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg The Mississippi River is a vital US waterway that ferries key commodities between the heart of America and the Gulf Coast — and drought is putting waterborne trade in jeopardy. Drought depleted river levels so much that in some spots vessels are getting stuck. One shipping company said low water levels are causing severe impacts to navigation not seen since 1988. It’s a key concern for transporting goods from a river basin that produces 92% of the nation’s agricultural exports, especially during harvest season. The Mississippi River is the main artery for US crop exports, with covered barges full of grain floating to terminals along the Gulf of Mexico. Petroleum and imported steel also transit through sections of the waterway as does fertilizer traveling from New Orleans. The dryness — and the low water […]