About half of the wheat grown in Idaho is exported to overseas markets, and the remainder stays in the United States. Barges, trains, and trucks are used to carry the wheat from the farm to the elevator and on to the mill and bakery or to the port and overseas.
Our river system provides crucial efficiency
Transporting Idaho wheat to pacific ports is possible because of the Snake/Columbia River system. Carrying wheat by water is far more efficient than by rail or road. It would take 134 semi trucks and eight times as much fuel to transport one barge-load by road.
(Click on infographic to enlarge.)
Columbia Snake River System Facts
Deep Draft Channel Facts:
- 105 miles, 43 feet deep
- Over 50 million tons of international trade in 2016
- At least $24 billion in cargo value
- 40,000 local jobs are dependent on this trade
Inland Navigation Facts:
- 360 miles, 14 feet deep, from Portland/Vancouver to Lewiston, Idaho
- Over 9 million tons of commercial cargo in 2014
- Important gateway for U.S. wheat and forest products
- Over 18,000 cruise passengers in 2017, with $15M in direct economic benefits to the region
River System Highlights
#1 US wheat exports
#2 US corn and soy exports
#1 west coast wood exports
#1 west coast bulk exports
#1 west coast auto exports
Barging is the safest method of moving cargo, with a lower number of injuries, fatalities and spill rates than both rail and trucks. It is also the most fuel efficient, has the least emissions and is the lowest cost way of moving cargo.