Moving Grains: Export Inspections Recede After 3 Weeks of Increases

    Port of Duluth-Superior. Photo: Duluth Port Authority

    Grain Inspections Recede After 3 Weeks of Increases

    For the week ending October 21, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions totaled 2.9 million metric tons (mmt). Total grain inspections were down 23 percent from the previous week, down 30 percent from the same time last year, and down 2 percent from the 3-year average.

    From the previous week, corn inspections fell 48 percent and soybean inspections fell 14 percent, while wheat inspections fell only 1 percent. Total inspections of grain decreased 40 percent in the Mississippi Gulf, mainly because of lower shipments to Latin America.

    Pacific Northwest (PNW) inspections decreased only 4 percent from the previous week. During the last 4 weeks, total inspections were 20 percent below last year and 4 percent above the 3-year average.

    Ports of LA and Long Beach Assess Emergency Fee for Long Dwell Times

    Beginning November 1, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will assess an “emergency fee” on shipping lines for excessive dwell times of containers on the terminals. Subject to the new fee are shipping lines whose local-delivery containers remain on the terminal for more than 9 days or whose rail containers remain for more than 6 days.

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    For the first day on the terminal past the allowed time period, the cumulative emergency fee begins at $100 per container. The second day adds $200; the third day adds $300; and so on—rising in $100 increments. Thus, a container that remained 3 days past the allowed period would incur a $600 emergency fee.

    This unprecedented fee demonstrates the severity of the current terminal congestion. While many container ports across the country have been affected, none have had more congestion than the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex. The record number of container vessels at the complex—waiting at anchor to load and unload—is slowing operations.

    The two ports will re-invest fees collected from dwelling cargo in programs to enhance efficiency, accelerate cargo velocity, and address congestion throughout the San Pedro Bay. More than 30 percent of containerized grain exports use the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex.

    USACE Awards $139 Million for Ship Channel Improvement in Port of Corpus Christi

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently awarded a $139 million contract for the third phase of the Port of Corpus Christi ship channel improvement project. Begun in May 2019, the four-phase, $651 million infrastructure project will increase the channel’s depth by 7 feet and width by 130 feet.

    These changes will allow more than one vessel to pass through the channel at the same time, as well as accommodate supertankers, or very large crude carriers (VLCCs). Extending west of the channel’s La Quinta Junction through the Chemical Turning Basin in the port’s Inner Harbor, Phase 3 is expected to be completed by June 2023.

    The project is funded by $161.5 million from the Port of Corpus Christi and $296.3 million from the Federal Government. According to USDA, in 2020, export shipments of bulk grain and grain products accounted for 98 percent of total U.S. waterborne agricultural exports through the Port of Corpus Christi, a key grain export port.

    Snapshots by Sector

    Export Sales

    For the week ending October 14, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans for marketing year 2021/22 totaled 51.8 million metric tons (mmt), down 17 percent from same time last year and up 2 percent from the previous week.

    Net corn export sales were 1.273 mmt, up 22 percent from the previous week. Net soybean export sales were 2.878 mmt, up significantly from last week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.362 mmt, down 36 percent from the previous week.

    Rail

    U.S. Class I railroads originated 25,133 grain carloads during the week ending October 16. This was a 5-percent increase from the previous week, 2 percent less than last year, and 10 percent more than the 3-year average.

    Average November shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $285 above tariff for the week ending October 21. This was $230 more than last week and $152 lower than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.

    Barge

    For the week ending October 23, barged grain movements totaled 577,104 tons. This was 29 percent lower than the previous week and 48 percent lower than the same period last year.

    For the week ending October 23, 365 grain barges moved down river—145 barges fewer than the previous week. There were 762 grain barges unloaded in the New Orleans region, 1 percent fewer than last week.

    Ocean

    For the week ending October 21, 38 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—unchanged from the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting October 22), 47 vessels were expected to be loaded—16 percent fewer than the same period last year.

    As of October 21, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $91.00. This was 7 percent more than the previous week. The rate from PNW to Japan was $50.00 per mt, 6 percent more than the previous week.

    Fuel

    For the week ending October 25, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased by 4.2 cents from the previous week to $3.713 per gallon, $1.33 above the same week last year.

    Full report.




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