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 Post subject: Re: Mississippi River Grain Backups
Unread postPosted: October 3, 2017, 7:21 pm 

Joined: July 2, 2010, 1:36 pm
Posts: 582
Guest wrote:
Is it possible that the backup of grain shipments on the Mississippi River may divert some upcoming loads to be rerouted through Duluth/Superior?


There is certainly spare elevator capacity at Duluth-Superior, and several saltwater ships have left the Lakes/Seaway system empty lately for apparent lack of available outbound cargo.

Grain traders / exporters seem to be creatures of habit and don't appear apt to take advantage of the alternatives to perennially clogged barge waterways that one might imagine could be available on the Lakes. It wasn't long ago that corn and soybeans / soy meal were regularly exported through Duluth-Superior. That local export trade dried up pretty suddenly around 2003-2004. Not sure why. The U.S. still exports plenty of soybeans to regions that might be viable markets for Lakes / St. Lawrence terminals (northwestern Europe, Mediterranean, Mexico, northern South America, etc.). A growing amount of soybeans are grown in Duluth-Suoerior's traditional grain hinterland (MN, the Dakotas). There are plenty of modern Canadian and oceangoing vessels plying the Seaway that might be capable of offering competitive freight rates. Perhaps Duluth-Superior soybean export just wouldn't or can't compete with overland rail or barge transport these days. On the other hand we often discover that the micro-scale decisions made by giant transnational corporations like the ones that dominate global grain trade don't always make what laypeople like us would imagine to be good business sense. If there is unrealized business advantage to be had, it would sure be a welcome sight to see more maritime jobs supported by a rebound in grain traffic at the Twin Ports. I wouldn't hold my breath, though. Even amongst the massive shipping disruptions that Louisiana and the Mississippi saw during Hurricane Katrina, only a relatively paltry amount of corn and soybeans (145,000 tons of memory serves) were rerouted through Duluth-Superior.


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 Post subject: Mississippi River Grain Backups
Unread postPosted: October 3, 2017, 10:41 am 
Is it possible that the backup of grain shipments on the Mississippi River may divert some upcoming loads to be rerouted through Duluth/Superior?


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