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Propane shortages causing long lines at terminals

Some tanker drivers are waiting up to several hours to load up propane that is needed for farmers

Posted: Nov 2, 2019 11:27 PM
Updated: Nov 3, 2019 8:44 AM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - The early winter weather has many people already heating their homes. And with an abnormal year for the planting and harvesting season, many farmers are needing to grain dry their corn and soybean crops to prevent spoiling, and to keep their livestock warm.
However, the demand is causing a major propane shortage throughout parts of Iowa, causing long lines at terminals.
At the ONEOK terminal in Clear Lake, many tanker drivers have been waiting for several hours for a shipment of propane to arrive.

"What a house uses in a season, a farmer will use in two days."
Randy Ellis with C.H. Wilson Transport of Charles City has been on the road for about three weeks, cris-crossing the state to deliver propane to farmers. It’s the second time he’s been stuck waiting in a long line for a shipment to come in this week, all because of high demand and low supply.

"As a company with the number of trucks we have, we're geared to handle this portion of fall. But when there's no supply coming through the pipe, all we can do is sit and wait or chase and try to find it somewhere else."
Drivers Troy and Trent Smidt and Dale Frerichs with LB Transport of Buffalo Center have also run into supply availability issues.

"Sanborn, Rock Rapids, Iowa…they're out of gas. Jackson, Minnesota, they were really low on gas the other day. It was a 5 hour wait there. It's all over up here."
Because the shortage and the time drivers must wait for shipments, propane prices are expected to go up.
While these drivers have faced some shortages, they’ve not seen anything like this year’s. They hope something can be done to avoid repeat shortages.

"The co-ops that are buying the gas have to raise the prices of the gas to offset our detention time. You're going to have a trickle down effect and have outrageous propane prices.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation temporarily suspending certain policies limiting how long drivers can be behind the wheel. The suspension will expire on November 30th.

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