Grain Vessel Loading Activity Remains Strong as Ocean Freight Rates Inch Up

This article has been reprinted from the Dec. 7 USDA Grain Transportation Report.

Grain vessel loading activity in the U.S. Gulf and PNW ports has remained relatively strong so far during this last quarter of the year.

During October and November, an average of 36 ocean-going grain vessels were loaded per week, while 41 vessels were either loading or waiting to be loaded in the U.S. Gulf.

In the PNW, an average of 17 vessels were either loading or waiting to be loaded.

During the previous quarter, a weekly average of 32 vessels were loaded and 28 vessels were loading or waiting to be loaded in the U.S. Gulf.

Only 12 vessels were either loading or waiting to be loaded in the PNW during the same period.

Meanwhile, ocean freight rates for shipping bulk grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan averaged $48.38 per metric ton (mt) during November.

The rates from PNW to Japan averaged $26.81 per mt. Both rates were 7 percent higher than third quarter levels.

Year-to-date grain inspected for exports at U.S. ports has also remained strong.