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ST. LOUIS (AP) - An industry group holding its annual conference in St. Louis has joined the effort to boost commercial barge shipping on the Mississippi River.

The Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals Association on Tuesday announced it will join St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other regional political and business leaders pushing to use barges to ship containers on the river as a commercial alternative to freight transport by air and land.

The mayors of Clarksville, Mo. and the Illinois towns of Alton, Graft and Hartford joined Slay for the Union Station announcement.

Slay and other mayors of Mississippi River cities convened in Memphis, Tenn., last year to rally support for boosting the river's economic impact. A container shipping line previously ran from Memphis to New Orleans.

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