Ocean-going grain vessel loading activity has been strong in the U.S. Gulf and Pacific Northwest since the beginning of the year, according to the USDA Grain Transportation Report. During the weekly periods ending January 1 to March 20, an average of 74 vessels was in the Gulf ports loading or waiting to be loaded, 151 percent more than the same period last year. An average of 44 vessels was loaded in the previous 7 days, 37 percent more than last year.
Seventy-six vessels are expected to be loaded in the next 10 days, 65 percent more than last year. At the Pacific Northwest ports, an average of 20 vessels was loading or waiting to be loaded, 38 percent more than the same period last year. Given the continued moderate ocean freight rates, uncertainty surrounding China and Brazilian soybean trade talks, and unrest in Ukraine, U.S. export activity may continue to be strong.