Grain Transportation: Pacific Northwest Drives Increase in Inspections

Grain storage. ©Debra L Ferguson

Pacific Northwest Drives Increase in Grain Inspections

For the week ending May 13, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 2.9 mmt. Total grain inspections were up 13 percent from the previous week, up 37 percent from last year, and up 19 percent from the 3-year average.

Inspections increased for each of the three major grains, with wheat up 17 percent, corn up 10 percent, and soybeans up 27 percent from the previous week.

The increase in inspections was driven by a 41-percent jump in Pacific Northwest (PNW) grain inspections. Mississippi Gulf inspections increased 1 percent for the same period. Compared to last year, year-to-date total grain inspections are up 39 percent.

USDA Releases First World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates of MY 2021/22

On May 12, USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) released the first World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) for marketing year (MY) 2021/22. According to WASDE, U.S. corn and soybean exports are projected to decline slightly from MY 2020/21. WAOB estimates world soybean exports will rise slightly from MY 2020/21 to a record 172.9 million metric tons (mmt).

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Of total global soybean exports, the United States is expected to provide 32 percent, versus Brazil’s 54 percent. World corn exports are expected to rise by 10.6 mmt to a record 197.47 mmt. The U.S. share of global corn exports is expected to decline to 31.5 percent. WAOB estimates China will increase its soybean imports by 3 mmt to a record 103 mmt; hold corn imports steady at 26.0 mmt; and lower its wheat imports by .5 mmt.

If realized, WAOB’s projected declines in U.S. exports in MY 2021/22 could slightly reduce the demand for domestic agricultural transportation and ocean vessels from MY 2020/21 levels.

DOT’s Maritime Administration Announces $19.6 Million in Grant Awards

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Maritime Administration recently announced the award of $19.6 million in grants through its Small Shipyard Grant Program. To help purchase equipment and train employees, the grants were awarded to 31 small shipyards in 15 States.

The grant program aims to help its recipients build better infrastructure to increase productivity, move more ships, expand local employment opportunities, and compete in the global marketplace.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending May 6, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 30.0 mmt. This was 7-percent lower than last week, but 33 percent higher than the same time last year.

Net corn export sales were −0.113 mmt, down significantly from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 0.094 mmt, down 43 percent from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.030 mmt, down significantly from the previous week.

Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 25,211 grain carloads during the week ending May 8. This was a 10-percent decrease from the previous week, 17 percent more than last year, and 7 percent more than the 3-year average.

Average May shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $121 below tariff for the week ending May 13. This was $25 less than last week and $23 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

Barge

For the week ending May 15, barge grain movements totaled 870,175 tons. This was 13 percent less than the previous week and 10 percent more than the same period last year.

For the week ending May 15, 535 grain barges moved down river—98 barges fewer than the previous week. There were 804 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 5 percent more than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending May 13, 34 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—17 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting May 14), 55 vessels were expected to be loaded—15 percent more than the same period last year.

As of May 13, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $67.00. This was 3 percent more than the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $39.50 per mt, 4 percent more than the previous week.

Fuel

For the week ending May 17, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 6.3 cents from the previous week to $3.249 per gallon, 86.3 cents above the same week last year.

Full report.




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