Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Export grain buyers shifting to Gulf ports as PNW delays persist

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File photo of BNSF train. File photo of BNSF train.

Brutal winter weather threatens to further delay export grain shipments by rail and vessel loading at Pacific Northwest ports, but that could be a boon to maritime centers along the Gulf Coast.

Reuters reported that the backlog of grain ships waiting to load at PNW ports could persist into April. That has led Asian buyers to switch purchases to Gulf Coast terminals.

More than 60 ships are waiting to load at PNW terminals, up from the normal 20 to 30, after months of rain slowed loadings and blizzards disrupted rail operations to Portland and Seattle, together the second-busiest U.S. grain port.

Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill are among the grain terminals there. Twenty more ships are scheduled to arrive this month.

The news service reported at least five grain vessels slated to load in the PNW have been re-routed to the Gulf, adding two weeks to trans-Pacific voyages.

BNSF Railway, which fought heavy snow and avalanches in February, reported 146 grain trains held short of their destinations this past week, down from 167 in mid-February but above the 48 in the same week in 2016.

The transport issues come amid record harvests in the U.S. and South America, the latter of which have also struggled to reach ports in northern Brazil.

A grain shortage forced Japan to tap its emergency stockpile, Reuters reported.







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