Bulk ship grain

As well as historical information, shipping data can reveal a forward view as to where grain is expected to be loaded over the coming month. This can point towards potential opportunities where exporter demand for spot product may emerge on a locational, or port basis.

Looking at when ships are booked to arrive and load grain can also provide a good picture of when demand for physically delivered grain will occur on a week-to-week basis, at each relevant port. It certainly won’t reveal all export activity that is going to happen in the very short term, but it can provide some indications about expected minimum volumes, and which ports will be actively loading what products. Opportunities to sell to exporters looking to top up uncontracted volumes on scheduled shipments can present themselves if prompt delivery can be executed successfully.

On the wheat front, ships scheduled to be moving 1mmt of product out of the country can be identified for the period of May 2022.  The majority of this, 496kt (50%) is expected to be loaded in WA, mostly via the port of Kwinana. In March, estimated wheat shipments tipped over 2.5 mmt, but a slowdown to 1.6mmt in April may have occurred. (figure 4)

For Barley, only a total of 235kt can be identified as scheduled to be exported out of the country. The vast majority of the volume is expected to depart via WA, mostly ex Kwinana. (figure 2) This contrasts sharply with a blistering 1.1m sailing over the month of MAR-22, and 760kt in APR-22, pointing towards either more ships are yet to be scheduled, or a reduction in barley shipments has occurred. (figure 4)

The data indicates that forecast minimum canola shipments will total 386kmt, again, with most of the volume emanating from WA load points. (figure 3) This volume compares reasonably well to April export volume estimates of 493 kt, which was down 27% from the 686kt that are thought to have moved in March 2022. (figure 4)

What does it mean?

Export volume forecasts from forward shipping stem data probably only provides indicative minimum volumes about where and when shipments are occurring from some ports. Nonetheless, having some idea of what is expected to load at your local port in the coming month can provide guidance on whether it is worth trying to look for an opportunity to sell at slightly elevated spot rates to an exporter needing to top up volumes before the ship sails.

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Key Points

  • Shipping stem export forecasts only cover minimum volumes but can be a good guide to where grains are loading.
  • Min 1mmt wheat scheduled to leave Australia in MAY, mostly ex WA.
  • Min 235kmt barley, 386kt Canola exports estimated for MAY-22.

Click on figure to expand

Click on figure to expand

Click on figure to expand

Click on figure to expand

Data sources:  ICS, Mecardo

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