So Minnesota: Impact of barge traffic on the state

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Many enjoy hitting the water in Minnesota on a boat. But for some, it’s big business.

A large part of our state’s economy depends on barge traffic.

Many don’t realize the impact barge traffic has on Minnesota.

"We are a silent giant," Lee Nelson, president of Upper River Services in St. Paul said. "We move a lot of commodities but nobody knows we’re doing it."

From March through November, the company will move a half-million semi’s worth of products.

"We’re here because of agriculture," Nelson said. "We move fertilizer into the region. We move corn, soybeans, wheat, etc out of the region."

Six percent of all grain exported from the United States comes from the Twin Cities.

"That’s a lot of Minnesota produce that is going to the world market."

One thing barges carry during the spring, summer and fall helps all of us in the winter. Much of the road salt we use in Minnesota is shipped by barge.