New Life on the Mississippi

Mississippi River traffic is booming as never before. The river's 6,600 boat-barge fleet has grown 20% since prewar, and this year will haul an estimated 150 million tons of freight (enough to fill 57,000 freight trains of 50 cars each). At an average $1.50 a ton, that means a record gross of some $225 million.

The boom began in World War II, when the river took some of the strain off the overworked railroads. The 40% postwar rise in rail freight rates was a greater spur. Now a ton of oil can be shipped...

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