b'US funds help Las Water Institute develop early warning shoaling along the Lower MississippiUS FUNDS HELP LAS WATER INSTITUTE DEVELOP EARLY WARNING SHOALING ALONG THE LOWER MISSISSIPPIBy Stas Margaronis, AJOTSeptember 26, 2022 | Published originally in AJOT InsightsT he Water Institute of the Gulf is harvesting depth sounding data from a fleet of tugs working in Louisianas stretch of the Mississippi River so as to develop an early warning system that anticipates shoaling problems for river shipping and ports. With grants from the U.S. Department of Commerces Economic Development Agency, the State of Louisiana, Port of New Orleans, Port of South Louisiana and other partners, the Institute will develop a Lower Mississippi River SmartPort & Resilience Center (SmartPort).The Institute says the SmartPort project will forecast shoaling at port facilities along the Mississippi River, improve port operations and benefit a variety of stakeholders who need to understand how sediment builds up in the Mississippi River and will be coupled with a suite of weather, river, and road traffic analytics to improve efficiency and help the regions ports become more resilient in the face of future natural disasters and economic shocks.In an interview, Bobby Landry, Senior Advisor Water Institute of the Gulf, told AJOT: The purpose of the project is to provide a good predictive model for whats going on the Mississippi River.To some extent we have better data about the surface of the Moon than we do about the riverbed of the Mississippi River.Landry added: We dont have sufficient data along the tributaries and at the ports and especially at the smaller ports. Currently, we cannot predict or anticipate a problem. I was very surprised to find that a lot of tugs did not carry soundingBobby Landry, Senior Advisor Water equipment. It is important that I emphasize at this point our data collection andInstitute of the Gulfanalyzation are not designed for navigation but will certainly aid in commercial concerns along the River.Previously, Landry worked at the Port of New Orleans where since 1989 he served as the Director of Marketing, Senior Manager of Operations, and most recently as Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.Landry said the ports need more data about river conditions: During my time at the Port of New Orleans, we would hear from the pilots when they were berthing a ship that they discovered a problem with the draft. It happened at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.Landry said the Water Institute project will help anticipate such problems in advance so dredging resources can be deployed. Exporters also see the value: We spoke to Cargill and asked them if they thought having shoaling information 30 days in advance would be useful and they said it would make all the difference in the world.The reason is that Cargill could ship its grain exports down the Mississippi River to Gulf Coast ports with the updated draft data at various river locations. Cargill would benefit by deploying its barges more efficiently.20'