Challenges for container shipping grain from PNW

Challenges for container shipping grain from PNW

Farm and Ranch January 2, 2012 Pacific Northwest wheat exports by container represent just a small portion of total shipments but they go to some important Asian markets. And consultant Mark Samson, who did a container study for the Washington Grain Commission, believes its important to have container shipping in order to compete against Australia, which moves 30 to 40 percent of its shipments by container.

Samson says the Pacific Northwest faces some obstacles for container shipping of grain. First, the economic slowdown means fewer containers coming from Asia. Container ship operators would rather head back empty and use less fuel and get a quick turnaround than carry heavy cargo. PNW wheat must also compete for space with Midwest corn and soybeans moving by container. What can be done?

Samson: “I think the wheat industry probably should pull together some of these elevators that are interested in expanding this, or maintaining their ability to ship these, and start putting together activities and coalitions that can go back and demonstrate to the international container carriers of the benefits for them. The benefits for the industry here and the benefits for the customers out there.”

Samson doesn’t think we will ever move as much wheat by container as Australia does but he can see container shipments increasing to ten percent of PNW exports.

I’m Bob Hoff and that the Northwest Farm and Ranch Report on Northwest Aginfo Net.


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