Bunge Completed Sales of 35 U.S. Elevators to Zen-Noh Grain
On July 9, Bunge North America announced completion of the sale of 35 interior elevators to Zen-Noh Grain Corp., a subsidiary of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations of Japan. At the same time, Zen-Noh immediately divested itself of 9 of these facilities—along with a 10th terminal operated by Zen-Noh’s Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. (CGB) affiliate—selling these to Viserion Grain, LLC.
The sales to Viserion were made to maintain market competitiveness as mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Most of these 35 elevators are located along the Mississippi River and its tributaries where grain shippers rely heavily on barges to deliver grain to the export markets.
Headquartered in Covington, LA, Zen-Noh operates an export terminal in nearby Convent, LA. According to DOJ, Zen-Noh’s divestiture ensures that other grain buyers will be well positioned to compete with larger companies in trading corn and soybeans.
The preservation of competition should benefit farmers, as well as grain shippers.
FMC To Audit Top Container Lines on Billing of Detention and Demurrage Charges
On July 20, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) began auditing how carriers bill customers for detention and demurrage charges.
Grain News on AgFax
The audit applies to container lines with the largest share of U.S. cargoes: Cosco Group, CMA CGM, Ocean Network Express, Evergreen, Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co., HMM, Yang Ming, and Hapag-Lloyd. FMC’s newly formed Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Audit program and dedicated audit team will assess carrier compliance with the agency’s rule on detention and demurrage.
Each carrier must respond to the audit and provide monthly updates to regulators. The audit is a response to ongoing complaints from shippers, as well as recent guidelines by Congress and the White House to track unreasonable storage fees tied to persistent port congestion. This action also follows from the White House’s “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” issued July 9.
Weekly Grain Inspections Unchanged, but Year-to-Date Volume Remains Above 2020
For the week ending July 15, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 1.65 million metric tons (mmt). Total grain inspections were unchanged from the previous week, down 25 percent from last year, and down 23 percent from the 3-year average.
From week to week, total wheat inspections increased 15 percent; corn remained unchanged; and soybeans decreased 28 percent. Although inspections during the last 4 weeks were 23 percent below last year and 24 percent below the 3-year average, year-to-date grain inspections are up 27 percent.
From the previous week, total grain inspections decreased 15 percent in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and decreased 5 percent in the Mississippi Gulf.
Snapshots by Sector
For the week ending July 8, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 18.5 mmt. This was 5 percent lower than last week and 11 percent lower than the same time last year.
Net corn export sales were 0.139 mmt, 20 percent lower than the past week. Net soybean export sales were 0.022 mmt, down 66 percent from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.425 mmt, up 45 percent from last week.
U.S. Class I railroads originated 17,136 grain carloads during the week ending July 10. This was a 14-percent decrease from the previous week, 11 percent less than last year, and 21 percent fewer than the 3-year average.
Average July shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $92 below tariff for the week ending July 15. This was $105 more than last week. There were no shuttle bids/offers this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.
For the week ending July 17, barged grain movements totaled 748,927 tons. This was 7 percent higher than the previous week and 9 percent fewer than the same period last year.
For the week ending July 17, 499 grain barges moved down river—26 more barges than the previous week. There were 539 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 1 percent more than the previous week.
For the week ending July 15, 24 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—20 percent fewer than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting July 16), 47 vessels were expected to be loaded—34 percent more than the same period last year.
As of July 15, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $84.00. This was 1 percent less than the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $45.00 per mt, 3 percent less than the previous week.
For the week ending July 19, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 0.6 cents from the previous week to $3.344 per gallon, 91.1 cents above the same week last year. This is the 12th consecutive week that the national average diesel price has increased.