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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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UPPER MISSISSIPPI BARGE LINE COMPANY

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UPPER MISSISSIPPI BARGE LINE COMPANY. A Delaware corporation, the Upper Mississippi Barge Line was organized with the goal of placing modern and efficient large transportation on the upper Mississippi River between the Twin Cities and St. Louis. The company was an answer to the annual call for using the upper Mississippi as a carrier of freight.

Among the benefits expected were:

             1. reliable and dependable barge freight service as rates 
                considerably below existing rail rates,
             2. advantages from combined rail and water shipping,
             3. active water transportation and water freight
                competition,
             4. an economic and direct transportation outlet would
                be created with export trade through the Gulf of
                Mexico and the Panama Canal to Atlantic and Pacific
                coasts,
             5. placement of the upper Mississippi valley on a
                better economic position with other sections of the
                United States. 

The Upper Mississippi Barge Line entered into a contract with the Inland Waterways Corporation, a federal corporation in charge of barge transportation on inland waterways. In its contract with inland Waterways, the Upper Mississippi line agreed to:

              1. provide a fleet of towboats and barges approved by
                 government engineers, for weekly service north and
                 south, between the Twin Cities and St. Louis,
              2. furnish a traffic manager and traffic solicitors,
              3. furnish terminal engineers to assist the various
                  towns with plans and specifications for modern
                  terminals

In its contract with the Upper Mississippi Line, Inland Waterways agreed to:

              1. operate the fleet of the barge line,
              2. lease operate and maintain the fleet for five years
                 at a rent of 5% of the cost of the cost of the
                 equipment,
              3. to buy from the barge line, at the option of the
                 company after two years and not later than five years,
                 the entire floating equipment of the company, at
                 cost, less 3% depreciation per annum

The announcement of the barge line formation was quickly championed locally by the DUBUQUE SHIPPERS' ASSOCIATION.

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Source:

1. "Great Interest is Aroused in River Development Plan," Telegraph Herald, February 21, 1926, p. 19