If the United States doesn’t have an effective inland waterway system, soybeans and other commodities won’t get to ports or overseas markets and reduce U.S. farmers’ competitiveness, according to the United Soybean Board (USB).

A recent study funded by USB’s Global Opportunities program in coordination with the Soy Transportation Coalition examined inefficiencies in the U.S. waterway system and also offered potential solutions. The U.S. inland waterways serve as important and economical routes to transport U.S. soy to global markets.

Fifty-nine percent of total 2011 soybean exports passed through Mississippi River ports in southern Louisiana. Of those soybeans, 89 percent passed through the locks on U.S. inland waterways on the way to the ports.