Moving Grain: Export Inspections Jump Sharply

    Photo: U.S. Grains Council

    Grain Inspections Jump Sharply With Rising Corn and Soybean Shipments to Asia

    For the week ending January 7, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 3.3 million metric tons (mmt). Total grain inspections were up 25 percent from the previous week, up 45 percent from the same period last year, and up 58 percent from the 3-year average.

    The jump in total inspections reflected a 24-percent increase in corn inspections and a 36-percent increase in soybean inspections. These increases were mainly due to rising shipments to Asia. Wheat inspections, however, were down 14 percent from week to week.

    From the previous week, Pacific Northwest (PNW) grain inspections increased 29 percent, and Mississippi Gulf inspections increased 26 percent. Grain inspections for the last 4 weeks were 69 percent above the same period last year and 68 percent above the 3-year average.

    STB Releases 2019 Public Use Waybill Sample and Uniform Railroad Costing System Data

    On December 18, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) released the 2019 Public Use Waybill Sample and the 2019 Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS) data. STB’s waybill data are among the most comprehensive sources for understanding rail freight movements and trends. STB expects to release products using these data soon (e.g., Revenue Shortfall Allocation Method and various stratification reports).

    The 2019 Public Use Waybill Sample and the 2019 URCS data are available on the STB website. In addition, the 2005-19 Waybill data are available on USDA’s Agricultural Transportation Open Data Platform in an easy-to-use, accessible format.

    Snapshots by Sector

    Export Sales

    For the week ending December 31, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 50.8 million metric tons (mmt). This was 4 percent lower than last week, but still represented a significant increase in outstanding sales from the same time last year.

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    Net corn export sales were 0.749 mmt, down 22 percent from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 0.037 mmt, down 95 percent from the previous week. Net wheat export sales were 0.275 mmt, down 47 percent from the previous week.

    Rail

    U.S. Class I railroads originated 24,790 grain carloads during the week ending January 2. This was a 14-percent increase from the previous week, 27 percent more than last year, and 33 percent more than the 3-year average.

    Average January shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $206 above tariff for the week ending January 7. This was $278 less than last week and $713 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

    Barge

    For the week ending January 9, barge grain movements totaled 653,312 tons. This was 22 percent lower than the previous week and 23 percent more than the same period last year.

    For the week ending January 9, 409 grain barges moved down river—108 barges fewer than the previous week. There were 1,058 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 1 percent more than the previous week.

    Ocean

    For the week ending January 7, 41 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—21 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting January 8, 2021), 69 vessels were expected to be loaded—50 percent more than the same period last year.

    As of January 7, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $43.25. This was 3 percent more than the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $24.50 per mt, 3 percent more than the previous week.

    Fuel

    For the week ending January 11, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 3.0 cents from the previous week to $2.67 per gallon, 39.4 cents below the same week last year.

    Full report.




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