Daily business briefing: Barge traffic down

August 26, 2013 

A Columbia barge business says barge traffic on the Mississippi River is down. Columbia, Ill.-based Heartland Barge Management LLC told the Wall Street Journal that up to 40 percent of barges on the river system are now idled due to a lack of business. Heartland senior vice president John Johnson says it will take a couple of years of normal operations for companies to recover from the flooding of 2011 and last year's drought, which prompted many longtime customers to move to other forms of transportation, such as rail. Read more at http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis. ...

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A state capital construction program will finance a new high-speed broadband network in Southern Illinois. The St. Louis Business Journal cites a KMOX report that Illinois is investing $1.5 million to create a new network in a deal among Frontier North Inc., the City of Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Connect SI. The network will be up to 100 times faster than speeds currently available. For more, read http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis. ...

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The Commerce Department has reported that orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell 7.3 percent last month as demand for commercial aircraft plummeted and businesses spent less on computers and electrical equipment. Excluding the transportation category, orders fell just 0.6 percent. Both declines followed three straight monthly increases. The drop indicates manufacturing continues to struggle after starting the year weak. Find out more at http://www.bnd.com/business. ...

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U.S. stock futures are mixed as businesses have cut back sharply on big-ticket purchases last month. The Commerce Department Monday followed a report Friday revealing that new home sales fell last month. Dow Jones industrial futures fell 34 points to 14,956. Learn more at http://www.bnd.com/business.

-- Will Buss, BND business writer

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