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Weak Cargo Demand and Inclement Weather Keep Ocean Freight Rates Low

Date Posted: February 7, 2013

This article is reprinted from the USDA's Feb. 7 Grain Transportation Report.

Ocean freight rates for shipping bulk commodities, including grain, remained low amid weak cargo demand and inclement weather in some parts of the world.

Bulk vessel supply is outpacing its demand as rains in Australia and Brazil are affecting iron ore and coal shipments.

As of February 1, the ocean rate for shipping bulk grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $46 per metric ton (mt)— unchanged during the past 3 weeks and 8 percent below the same period last year.

The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $24 per mt—unchanged during the past 3 weeks and 17 percent below last year.

Activity in the freight market is expected to remain slow during the next few weeks as the Chinese New Year begins on Feb 10, and will last for about 15 days.

For more information, call Surajudeen (Deen) Olowolayemo, USDA, at 202-694-3050.

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