USDA Grain Transportation Report (6/1): War in Sudan Raises Shipping Costs and Threatens Grain Sorghum Food Aid

According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, the East African country of Sudan is currently experiencing conflict between rival factions of its government.

Because of the fighting, London’s marine insurance market added Sudan to its list of high-risk countries on April 25.

In effect, the “high-risk” designation will mean that any ships sailing into Sudan will need to pay an additional war-risk premium and receive permission from their insurer.

Sudan is a leading destination for U.S.-produced grain sorghum, all of which is shipped in the form of food aid.

According to data from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, Sudan was the third-largest recipient of U.S. grain sorghum in 2022—importing nearly 123,000 metric tons.

Shipments of food aid tend to be more expensive than grain exports in general because of cargo preference requirements, which specify that at least 50 percent of food aid must be shipped on U.S.-flagged vessels (that can be a more expensive option than foreign-flagged vessels).

The additional insurance premiums and uncertainty surrounding shipping will raise the costs even more for shipping grain-sorghum food aid to Sudan.