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U.S. grain exports rise as Gulf terminals slowly recover from Ida By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Damaged power lines can be seen and houses visible days after Hurricane Ida struck Grand Isle, Louisiana. September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis//File Photo

By Julie Ingwersen

(Reuters) – U.S. grain exports increased last week as shippers along the Louisiana Gulf Coast recovered from flooding and widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Ida’s Aug. 29 landfall, but volumes were much lower than normal, preliminary data showed on Monday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows that only seven of the 23 soybean- and grain-laden export vessels arrived at Louisiana Gulf Coast ports in the week to Sept. 16. This is a decrease from last year’s 23.

Ida caused major disruptions in overseas grain shipping just weeks before harvest began. It was also the busiest season for U.S. crop exports. The result: export prices rose and global concerns over food inflation.

A weekly indicator of international shipments, USDA grain inspections data shows that 403,104 tonnes of corn was weighed in and exported last week. This is up from the week before’s revision of 159 429 tonnes. This marks an eight-1/2 year record.

Weekly soybean export inspections hit 275,169 tonnes. This is an increase from the previous week’s revised total of 193,429 tons.

In the last week, the USDA reported that 199.849 tonnes corn and 152.72 tonnes of soybeans were being inspected on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. These figures were an improvement on the previous week when none of the U.S. crop outlets was visited.

The latest corn inspections figures were still down 48% from 768 084 tonnes a year ago. [USDA/I]

On Monday, more than 60 bulk vessels waited to load grain onto the lower Mississippi River once terminals reopened. This was according to a Refinitiv Eikon shipping report as well as an industry vessel roster.

The storm caused minor damage to most of the large grain terminals that were located along the Mississippi River, from Baton Rouge to Gulf of Mexico. However, the area’s power grid was severely disrupted.

Cargill Inc said it reopened its Westwego, Louisiana, grain export terminal last week, by which time rivals Louis Dreyfus Co and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co had been loading export shipments for several days.

A Destrehan, Louisiana, facility owned by Bunge (NYSE:) Ltd has been “running intermittently,” the company said on Thursday, while CHS Inc said it expected its Myrtle Grove, Louisiana, export terminal to be operational by the height of the U.S. corn and soy harvest, which typically peaks in October.

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