Moving Grain: Stocks Report Reflects Strong Transportation Demand

Barge and ship traffic transport export cargo on the Mississippi River in the Port of New Orleans. Photo: Bob Nichols, USDA

USDA/NASS Stocks Report Reflects Strong Transportation Demand

On June 30, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) released its quarterly Grain Stocks report. The report contains both on- and off-farm commercial stocks of selected agricultural commodities at the State and national level as of June 1.

Between March 1 and June 1, combined, corn, wheat, and soybean disappearance was 15 percent more than the same timeframe last year. The reported high disappearance corresponded to above average rail carloads and barge movements. Remaining June 1 grain stocks can influence transportation demand in the coming pre-harvest months.

As of June 1, total corn stocks were 4.11 billion bushels, down 18 percent from June 2020. This was the lowest June 1 inventory since 2014. Total U.S. soybean stocks were 767 million bushels (mbu), down 44 percent from the same time in 2020 and the lowest total for June 1 since 2015. Reported total U.S. all-wheat stocks were 844 mbu, 18 percent below 2020 and the lowest level for June 1 since 2015.

FMCSA To Hold Public Meeting of Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee Meeting

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will hold a meeting of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) on Monday and Tuesday, July 19-20, 2021. The committee members—25 industry stakeholders—will hold their meeting via videoconference and open to the public.

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The agenda will address strategies to improve driver retention, ways to deal with an aging workforce, and potential regulatory changes to lower the current interstate driver age limit of 21—all of which may increase driver availability. The meeting will also address strategies to enhance workforce skills.

In an April letter to Congress, the National Grain and Feed Association similarly highlighted the need to promote opportunity and enhanced safety training, especially for new hires, to address “the truck driver shortage.” Requests to submit written materials to be reviewed during the meeting must be received by July 9, 2021.

Mississippi Gulf Grain Inspections Rebound

For the week ending July 1, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 1.7 million metric tons (mmt). Total grain inspections were up 19 percent from the previous week, down 15 percent from last year, and down 22 percent from the 3-year average.

The increase was driven by a 102-percent rebound in Mississippi Gulf grain inspections, as well as a 20-percent increase in corn inspections and an 87-percent jump in soybean inspections. Year-to-date inspections are up 31 percent from the same time last year. However, inspections of grain in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) decreased 24 percent from the previous week.

Snapshots by Sector

Export Sales

For the week ending June 24, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 21.0 mmt. This was 3 percent lower than last week and 5 percent lower than the same time last year.

Net corn export sales were 0.015 mmt, down 93 percent from the past week. Net soybean export sales were 0.093 mmt, down 35 percent from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales for marketing year 2021/22, which began June 1, were 0.226 mmt.

Rail

U.S. Class I railroads originated 21,975 grain carloads during the week ending June 26. This was a 12-percent increase from the previous week, 14 percent more than last year, and 3 percent more than the 3-year average.

Average July shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $308 below tariff for the week ending July 1. This was $49 less than last week and $345 lower than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

Barge

For the week ending July 3, barged grain movements totaled 771,472 tons. This was 11 percent less than the previous week and 2.4 percent higher than the same period last year.

For the week ending July 3, 511 grain barges moved down river—36 more barges than the previous week. There were 559 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 32 percent more than the previous week.

Ocean

For the week ending July 1, 26 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—21 percent fewer than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting July 2), 50 vessels were expected to be loaded—19 percent more than the same period last year.

As of July 1, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $82.00. This was 9 percent more than the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $46.00 per mt, 7 percent more than the previous week.

Fuel

For the week ending July 5, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 3.1 cents from the previous week to $3.331 per gallon, 89.4 cents above the same week last year. This is the 10th consecutive week that the national average diesel price has increased.

Full report.




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