Grain shipments continue amid conflicts in Ukraine, Middle East

Container shipping rates on key global trade routes are soaring following the United States and British air strikes on Yemen rebels. The Houthi forces have been attacking container ships in the Red Seas, with assistance from Iran.

Major companies have also stopped using the Suez Canal and are sending vessels around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Rerouting a ship around Africa adds roughly 10 days and $1 million in fuel costs for each one-way voyage between Asia and Europe. Ukrainian wheat exports are sharply lower than pre-war times but a surprising amount of crop is still being exported despite the war.

“In spite of all Ukraine’s difficulties and everything they’re doing to fight off Russia, and everything Russia is doing to make life at Ukraine’s ports difficult and impossible, Ukraine still manages to get out significant amounts of corn and wheat, so it’s kind of an amazing human story of what they’re able to pull off here.” said Todd Hultman, a grain market analyst with DTN the progressive farmer.

On Friday, the US Department of Agriculture raised its estimates for Ukrainian wheat exports. USDA estimates Ukrainian wheat production at 23.4 million tonnes, with exports at 14 million or 1.5 million tonnes above the previous estimate. The USDA also bumped up Russian wheat export by 1 million tonnes to 51 million.

(With files from Neil Billinger, CJWW)

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