Houston, TX (Reuters) — The first bulk U.S. soybean cargo from the Texas Gulf Coast in about six months was loaded and shipped last week from a Cargill Inc terminal, in a sign of shifting trade flows in the wake of Hurricane Ida, traders and shipping sources said.
The vessel Spar Rigel was loaded early last week with about 55,000 tonnes of soybeans at Cargill's Houston terminal, an outlet that typically loads mostly wheat and sorghum grown nearby, according to a shipping vessel lineup seen by Reuters.
The uncommon shipment is the first of several soybean cargoes expected to load at Cargill's Texas facility this autumn after one of the company's two terminals at the Louisiana Gulf Coast — the country's top outlet for corn and soy shipped down the Mississippi River — was severely damaged by Ida on Aug. 29.
The powerful storm flooded and damaged Louisiana grain export terminals along the Mississippi from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, halting shipments just weeks before the fall harvest and the grain hub's peak export period.
Cargill is expected to shift some of its Louisiana Gulf loadings to other facilities while its Reserve, LA, terminal is repaired.
"They got hit harder that anyone" by the storm, said a U.S. soybean trader with a rival exporting company.
"They're moving bushels as best as they can ... They're fortunate to have that capacity in Texas."
Another vessel, the Zheng Jun, was being loaded with soybeans at the Cargill terminal late last week, according to a vessel lineup and Refinitiv Eikon shipping data.
Texas Gulf Coast terminals have loaded only about 18 vessels of soybeans so far this year, compared with more than 300 at the Louisiana Gulf Coast, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
Cargill did not immediately reply to a request for comment.