South America Calling
Alastair Stewart South America Correspondent

Thursday 01/30/14

Brazil Soy Shipments Off To Flying Start

Brazil's soybean season just gets earlier every year.

Ships are already busy loading beans and meal at Santos and Paranagua port, a month before the export season traditionally starts.

In total, shipments of some 187,000 metric tons of soybeans will start loading in late January and nearly 4 million metric tons of soybeans and meal are scheduled for February, according SA Commodities, a local shipping agency.

Brazil doesn't normally send soybeans in January, it only shipped 280 mt of soybeans last year, and relatively little in February, only 959,000 mt of beans 12 months ago.

Exporters have been able to name ships earlier because Brazil planted earlier and more and more farmers are using short-cycle beans to allow enough time to plant a second crop.

According to Agroconsult, a local farm analytics firm, the harvest peak this season will be between Feb. 15 and Mar. 15, two months earlier than a decade ago.

Last year, January and February grain line-ups were dominated by corn but reduced international demand this season has opened up space for soy.

Exporters will be thankful for this because they have a mountain of beans and meal to send.

Port infrastructure struggled to cope with the volume of soy exports last year, leading to loading delays of up to 80 days, and this season Brazil is expected to produce 10%-12% more soy.

Brazil will export 46.0 mmt of soybeans in 2014, 7.4% up on the year before, and 14 mmt of soymeal, up 2.9% on the year, according to Safras e Mercado, a local farm consultancy.

With only minor improvements in port facilities over the last 12 months, ships could be in for long waits to load again this year. According to SA Commodities, there are already 39 ships waiting for beans and meal at Paranagua port and 22 ships waiting for beans, meal and corn at Santos.

Ports will have to operate at maximum capacity for the next six months to cope, with operators praying for a dry autumn as loading is interrupted every time it rains.

(AG)

Posted at 2:17PM CST 01/30/14 by Alastair Stewart
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