December 18, 2014

West Coast Port Worries

Increasing congestion in West Coast ports, where longshoremen have been working without a contract for nearly six months, is a growing concern for the U.S. meat industry and export trade.

About one-third of U.S. beef and pork exports travel to Mexico and Canada by ground transportation, the remainder relies almost entirely on ocean freight.

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng says the red meat industry is watching the developments carefully…

Trouble Brewing

On a monthly basis, waterborne red meat exports moving through West Coast ports amount to more than $600 million.  Seng notes that meat importers have customers to serve, and they need reliable suppliers.


A six-year labor contract between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired this summer – and negotiations have recently become contentious.

The congestion crisis has been most pronounced at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Port officials recently said the number of ocean freighters kept waiting outside the two ports has fluctuated from about eight to 18 on any given day since the slowdown began around mid-October.



The Edge on Soy Transportation

Traditionally, the U.S. transportation system that has carried commodities from farm to market has been the best in the world.  The U.S. Soybean Export Council recently commissioned a study that showed America has an advantage over other major suppliers when it comes to filling orders for soybeans and agricultural products.

The study said U.S. soybean shipments usually arrive within 3 days on average of their expected delivery date.  That compares to 7 days on average for Argentina and 15 days for Brazil.  The report indicated that the U.S. has maintained its transportation advantage despite increased traffic and maintenance on the nation’s railway system.

U.S. freight-train speeds are close to the lowest since 2010, and monthly carloads of grain in October fell 5 percent from a year earlier, according to recent Association of American Railroads data.

With had a chance to visit with United Soybean Board Treasurer Jared Hagert from Emerado, North Dakota….

Jared Hagert

In the 2013/2014 marketing year, the United States exported over 2 billion bushels of U.S. soy, valued at more than $30 billion.


thanks to United Soybean Board


Senate Vote on Keystone Falls Short

A bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline failed in the Senate on Tuesday by just one vote, in a setback for the politically imperiled Democratic senator who pushed the legislation.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was forced earlier this month into a Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Representative Bill Cassidy. The House passed its own Keystone bill last Friday, with help from Cassidy.

The bill failed on a 59-41 vote. It needed 60 to pass.

With the project still stuck in a State Department review process, Republicans have already vowed to bring up the legislation in the next session when they have complete control of Congress.

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, who co-authored the Senate plan with Landrieu, said in a statement he would reintroduce the measure in January.

Opponents of the measure argued that the potential environmental impacts of the pipeline could be devastating.