The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, released its 2023 navigation statistics for the Upper Mississippi River today.

During the 2023 season, Corps staff supported 1,270 commercial navigation lockages at Lock and Dam 3, near Welch, Minnesota, which was below the 10-year average of 1,538 lockages. The 2023 lockages supported around 6 million tons, or approximately 3,429 barges, of commodities shipped by the navigation industry. During the 2022 season, Corps staff supported 1,154 commercial lockages and the movement of more than 6 million tons of commodities.

In addition to the commercial lockages, Corps staff locked 10,101 recreation vessels during 2,682 lockages. To minimize lockages, the Corps tries to include multiple recreation vessels during a single lockage. There were an additional 14 lockages from various government agencies including the Corps.

The 2023 navigation season unofficially ended Nov. 23, after the Motor Vessel W. Red Harris departed St. Paul, Minnesota. The 2023 navigation season started March 12 when the Motor Vessel Philip M. Pfeffer broke its way through the ice of Lake Pepin to travel to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Navigation statistics fluctuate from year to year, depending on the weather, river flows and the length of the navigation season. The St. Paul District maintains a 9-foot navigation channel from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation’s economy.

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