For the week ending Sept. 27, total inspections of grain (corn, wheat, and soybeans) for export from all major U.S. export regions was 2.33 million metric tons (mmt), down 8% from the previous week, 7% from last year, and unchanged from the three-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today.

Week-to-week inspections were down for corn, wheat and soybeans, according to the USDA's Grain Transportation Report. Corn inspections, however, remained above 1 mmt for the week and during the last month are up 51% from last year and 17% from the three-year average. Mississippi Gulf grain inspections dropped 4% from the previous week, but Pacific Northwest (PNW) grain inspections increased 1%, the GTR said.

As of Sept. 29, calendar year-to-date soybean shipments on the locking portions of the Mississippi, Ohio and Arkansas rivers were 9.2 million tons, 13% lower than last year, the GTR said. During the same period, corn barge tonnages were 18.4 million tons, 3% higher than last year. During September, the three-year average (2015-17) of grain and oilseed movements by barge were: corn, 49%; soybeans, 40%; and other grains, 11%. In September 2018, the share of barged grain was: corn, 65%; soybeans, 32%; and other grains, 3%.

With China’s 25% tariff on U.S. soybeans, industry sources say more corn and less other grains are being sold at harvest to make room for more soybean storage, the USDA said. This reversal of typical harvest shipping and storing practices may continue in upcoming weeks with changes to the normal ratio of corn and soybeans moved by barge, according to the GTR.

During the week ending Oct.1, the U.S. average diesel fuel price reached $3.313 per gallon, a level not seen since December 2014, the USDA reported. Prices increased 4.2 cents per gallon from the previous week and are up 10.6 cents per gallon over the past six weeks. Analysts report this increase is due to looming U.S. sanctions on Iran scheduled for next month and fears of decreased global crude oil supplies as a result. Snapshots

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.