The Upper Mississippi Waterway Association

The Upper Mississippi Waterway Association

We are an association of waterway operators, shippers and other waterway interests working together to promote the economic and environmental benefits of water transportation in the upper Midwest.

Working With Our Members

Incorporated in 1932, the UMWA works with members and other stakeholders to ensure that the Upper Mississippi River navigation system is used and maintained in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

UMWA represents interests in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Members include industrial and consumer goods manufacturers, electric utilities, grain companies, agricultural cooperatives, metal recyclers, barge and towing companies, recreational and passenger boat operators, marinas and others having an interest in river navigation and associated environmental issues. To ensure broad representation, representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and other agencies serve as ex-officio members.

Transportation Performs a Public Service

“Transportation is so closely interwoven in the modern processes of production and distribution that it affects every article of commerce. In fact, under modern conditions transportation performs a public service because it controls the exchange of products between various section of the country and the world. [Transportation] rates measure and circumscribe the trading area — the market of the producer. Any barrier or obstruction placed in the channels of transportation, such as excessively high freight rates, must to that extent limit or destroy the opportunities for an exchange of commodities between producer and consumer and correspondingly lower the purchasing power of the masses and the prevailing standard of living.”

While this would pass as a contemporary economic premise, this statement, made over 70 years ago, was pulled from an interview aired on KSTP radio, March 17, 1932. The words are those of C.C. Webber, then-president of Deere and Webber Company, forerunner of today’s John Deere Company.