Moving Grain: Corn, Soybean Inspections Jump Over Previous Weeks

The Port of Rosedale - Rosedale, Mississippi - Mississippi River ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Corn and Soybeans Boost Total Grain Inspections

For the week ending August 23, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions reached 2.69 million metric tons (mmt); up 18 percent from the previous week, up 16 percent from last year, and 23 percent above the 3-year average.

The increase in total inspections is primarily attributed to a 14 percent increase in corn inspections and a 39 percent jump in soybean inspections. Soybean inspections were the highest since early March, with increased shipments to Asia and Latin America. Inspections of wheat, however, were unchanged from the previous week.

Grain inspections increased 27 percent, from the previous week, in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and 17 percent in the Mississippi Gulf. Outstanding (unshipped) export sales weredown for corn, wheat, and soybeans.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hosts Olmsted Locks and Dam Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on August 30

After over 30 years of planning and construction, one of the most important segments of the U.S. inland waterway system—Olmsted Locks and Dam (L&D)—has been completed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Louisville District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 10 am to 11 am (Central Standard Time) at the Olmsted L&D, located at 567 New Dam Road Olmsted, IL. Olmsted L&D is sited on a strategic reach of the Ohio River that provides a connection between the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers.

The project, officially called the Locks and Dams 52 and 53 Replacement Project, consists of two 110-foot wide by 1,200-feet long locks, adjacent to the Illinois side of the river, and a dam that spans the river and connects with Kentucky. From 2013 to 2017, Ohio River L&D 52 handled, on average, about 78.2 million tons per year.

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During that time, corn, soybeans, fertilizers, feed products, wheat, and other agricultural products represent about 22 percent of all tonnages handled by Ohio River L&D 52 See the Grain Transportation Report August 23, 2018 issue for more details.

FMCSA to Consider Revising Certain HOS Provisions

On August 23, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to consider revising some of the rules governing hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. The introduction of electronic logging devices, used to accurately record compliance with HOS regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles, prompted numerous requests from Congress and the public for FMCSA to consider revising certain HOS provisions.

To address these requests, FMCSA seeks public input in four specific areas: The short-haul HOS limit; the HOS exception for adverse driving conditions; the 30-minute rest break provision; and the sleeper berth rule to allow drivers to split their required time in the sleeper berth. In addition, the Agency seeks public comment on petitions for rulemaking from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and TruckerNation.org. Comments are due on or before September 24, 2018.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending August 16, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 14.2 mmt, up 19 percent from the same time last year. Net weekly wheat export sales were .240 mmt, down 70 percent from the previous week. Net corn export sales were .173 mmt, down 49 percent from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were .153 mmt, up significantly from the previous week.

Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 23,404 grain carloads for the week ending August 18, up 8 percent from the previous week, 31 percent from last year, and 12 percent from the 3-year average.

Average September shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers per car were $63 below tariff for the week ending August 23, down $119 from last week, and $277 lower than last year. Average non-shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers per car were $200 above tariff, down $19 from last week. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week last year.

Barge

For the week ending August 25, barge grain movements totaled 877,454 tons, 23 percent higher than the previous week and down 3 percent from the same period last year.

For the week ending August 25, 570 grain barges moved down river, 129 barges more than the previous week. There were 750 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 3 percent higher than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending August 23, 34 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf, 6 percent less than the same period last year. Fifty vessels are expected to be loaded within the next 10 days, 11 percent more than the same period last year.

For the week ending August 23, the ocean freight rate for shipping bulk grain, from the Gulf to Japan, was $46.00 per metric ton, up 2 percent from the previous week. The cost of shipping, from the PNW to Japan, was $25.00 per metric ton, up 1 percent from the previous week.

Fuel

For the week ending August 27, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 1.9 cents, from the previous week, to $3.226 per gallon, 62.1 cents above the same week last year.

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