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USSEC leader says exports strong despite regional container issues

The CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council says the lack of empty shipping containers to export ag commodities appears to be limited to a certain region.

Jim Sutter tells Brownfield, “From what I hear, it’s having an impact, a negative impact on shipments from kind of the northern part of the U.S. Somebody referred to it to me today calling the I-94 corridor.”

Sutter says exporters from Minneapolis and west might have difficulty getting containers, but he is hearing other places including Chicago are not having problems. “They tell me that they are getting the containers that they have requested and asked for, and for them, shipments are continuing to flow in a normal way.”

Sutter says overall, bulk export shipments are moving at a very strong pace. “Whole bean exports are at a record level versus previous years for this time in the marketing year.”

Shipping companies say they are struggling with a shortage of shipping containers as Asian exports ramp up.  Ocean Insights, which tracks global shipping container movement reports overall container rollover ratios, or the pace of turning around empty containers with new loads rose from 26.9% to 28.5% in October.

Hapag-Lloyd announced in September they would stop accepting agricultural commodities bound for Asia so they could get containers loaded faster with the more lucrative freight.

Ocean Insights says the top four ports for turning around containers to ship exports are in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and China.

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