Grain Inspections Continue to Fall
For the week ending May 28, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, soybeans) from all major export regions reached 1.41 million metric tons (mmt), down 20 percent from the past week, 15 percent below last year, and 8 percent below the 3-year average. Soybean inspections, down 77 percent from the previous week, were the lowest since late August of last year.
Wheat inspections decreased 20 percent from the past week, and corn inspections decreased 1 percent. Despite the drop in total grain inspections, Pacific Northwest grain inspections increased 11 percent as corn inspections jumped 99 percent. Mississippi Gulf grain inspections decreased 34 percent due to a large drop in wheat and soybean inspections.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Launch New Website for Mariners
On May 26, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers launched a new website to provide the public and industry with nationally-issued Notices To Navigation Interests (NTNI). This site will keep navigation interests up to date on events that affect waterway navigation, such as maintenance activities, hazards to navigation, dredging, river bank protection, and other pertinent information. This site does not contain all notices, such as those published by U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies.
USDA to Present Oral Testimony on Grain Shipper Access to Rail Rate Appeals Procedures
On June 10, USDA will testify at a public hearing before the Surface Transportation Board (STB). The hearing is the latest development in the ongoing proceeding, Ex Parte 665 (Sub-No. 1): Rail Transportation of Grain, Rate Regulation Review, which was opened to examine issues of grain shipper access to rail rate appeals procedures.
USDA will discuss the challenges grain and oilseed shippers face under STB’s current rate appeals procedures, the need for a new procedure designed for agriculture, and the use of private-sector style arbitration and mediation as alternative procedures. Many other railroad and agricultural shipping interest groups are scheduled to speak at the hearing.
Snapshots by Sector
During the week ending May 21, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 16.7 mmt, 4 percent lower than at the same time last year. Corn export sales reached 0.655 mmt, down 19 percent from the previous week. Wheat export sales of 0.043 mmt were down 43 percent from the previous week. Soybean export sales of 0.322 mmt were up 95 percent from the previous week.
U.S. railroads originated 19,723 carloads of grain during the week ending May 23, down 2 percent from last week, down 3 percent from last year, and up 4 percent from the 3-year average.
During the week ending May 28, average June shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers per car were $379 below tariff, down $104 from last week and $548 lower than last year. Non-shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers were $33 below tariff, up $40 from last week and $433 lower than last year.
During the week ending May 30, barge grain movements totaled 669,129 tons–about 20 percent lower than the previous week and 22 percent lower than the same period last year.
During the week ending May 30, 445 grain barges moved down river, down 31 percent from last week; 422 grain barges were unloaded in New Orleans, down 31 percent from the previous week.
During the week ending May 28, 32 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf, 9 percent less than the same period last year. Thirty-six vessels are expected to be loaded within the next 10 days, 25 percent less than the same period last year.
During the week ending May 29, the ocean freight rate for shipping bulk grain from the Gulf to Japan was $30 per metric ton (mt), down 1 percent from the previous week. The cost of shipping from the PNW to Japan was $16.50 per mt, unchanged from the previous week.
During the week ending June 1, U.S. average diesel fuel prices decreased 0.5 cents from the previous week to $2.91 per gallon– down $1.01 from the same week last year.