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March 10, 2015

Number of Vessels to load Soybeans Surges at Brazilian Ports

Now that the strike by truck drivers is over in Brazil, a greater number of vessels are arriving at Brazil's ports looking to load soybeans. As of last Friday, there were 82 vessels waiting to load soybeans at Brazil's port compared to 51 vessels the week before. These vessels are scheduled to load 5.17 million tons of soybeans.

Brazil's largest grain port is the Port of Santos and at the port various grain terminals had run out of soybeans last week due to the two week trucker strike. During the strike virtually no soybeans arrived by truck at the port and the rail deliveries were also greatly reduced. The Ferronorte Railroad carries soybeans from Mato Grosso to the Port of Santos, but their rail deliveries were reduced due to truckers not delivering grain to the loading terminals in Mato Grosso. The director of the National Association of Grain Exporters (Anec) estimated that it would take a week of normal deliveries to rebuild grain stocks at the ports to more comfortable levels.

Brazil only exported 870,000 tons of soybeans during February, which was the lowest February total in four years (the soybean exports during January totaled 85,300 tons). In February of 2014, Brazil exported 2.8 million tons of soybeans.

The number of vessels scheduled to arrive at Brazil's ports by the end of March and into early April totals 7.6 million tons of soybeans. Therefore, after a slow start to exports due to the delayed soybean harvest and the trucker strike, soybean exports should now return to more normal levels going forward. Loading activity could still be disrupted temporarily by labor unrest at the ports, which is a common occurrence this time of the year in Brazil.