In recent weeks, loading activity of oceangoing grain vessels has accelerated in the U.S. Gulf.
From the week ending September 3, 2020, to the week ending November 12, 2020, there has been a weekly average of 47 grain vessels loaded or waiting to load.
In comparison, from the week ending January 2, 2020 to the week ending August 27, 2020, there was a weekly average of 36 vessels loaded or waiting to load.
Higher U.S. Gulf grain vessel loading activity is partly due to strong grain shipments to Asia, especially China.
Year-to-date 2020 (as of November 12, 2020), China imported 23 million metric tons (mmt) of U.S. soybeans, compared to 12.5 mmt for the same period in 2019.
In addition, ocean freight rates for shipping bulk items, including grain, were lower than for the same period a year ago.