Dam lock closure’s toll

Shippers suffer from the closure of The Dalles Dam lock, but it could have been worse.

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While the shutdown of The Dalles Dam’s navigation lock is taking a big toll on Northwest shippers, the effects could have been worse.

Oddly, the recession’s economic slowdown has helped. Because no pipeline leads to tank farms in the Tri-Cities area, for example, a sudden halt in deliveries of fuel could have led to serious shortages in normal years. But with fuel demand dampened by the recession, fuel supplies should last until the lock reopens Saturday, authorities say.

For wheat farmers, the fact that the closure came after harvest is key. Farmers need to get grain off the fields soon after it ripens, so having room in storage elevators in late summer is essential. Enormous barges — each holding 120,000 bushels — were able to bring wheat to Portland’s export terminals during this harvest season.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

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