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USSEC, Soyatech Explore the Future of Containerized Soybean Shipping (11.11.2008)

Press Release -- CHICAGO, IL -- November 7, 2008 -- The U.S. Soybean Export Council, in conjunction with Soyatech, hosted the first annual Global Soybean and Grain Transport Conference in Chicago, Ill. November 5-7.  375 stakeholders from various parts of the soybean value chain, including soybean and grain buyers from China, Southeast Asia and Europe, gathered to discuss the future of U.S. containerized soybean shipments.  Through presentations, panel discussions, tours and individual meetings, participants gained insight into how containerized shipments can meet their specific needs and built relationships that will facilitate future trade.

In his opening remarks, USSEC Chairman Scott Fritz praised 2008 record soy exports and attributed a degree of this success to the rising popularity of containerized soybean shipping.  “Containerized shipping provides the U.S. soybean industry with access to new markets and potential customers.  The value and flexibility of this option gives U.S. growers a competitive advantage.”

Throughout the conference, speakers addressed various aspects of containerized shipping, such as cost, delivery time and the ability to accommodate smaller customers, which make containerized shipments a desirable option.  Lectures also addressed the challenges facing this new industry.  Kansas State University’s Jay O’Neil explored how the global financial crisis will affect agriculture and shipping.  Keynote speaker Marc Levinson, author of The Box, refuted that idea that containerized shipping of agricultural products has already peaked and asserted that he believes that the industry will continue to grow.

Members of the international trade teams confirmed Levison’s assertions by stating their commitment to containerized shipments of U.S. soybeans.  Wang Jiang Hua, General Manager of Jiangxi Great Enterprises Co. Ltd., of China explained that he came here “to build direct relationships with U.S. suppliers that will allow for easy shipments in the future.”  He believes that as China’s economy continues to grow, so will the demand for U.S. soybeans.  Wang summarized “USSEC helps us build the bridge that allows us to fill this demand through conferences such as this.”

The conference concluded with individual meetings between U.S. suppliers of containerized soybeans shipments and international buyers.  The direct interface allowed both team members such as Wang and suppliers to communicate their needs and abilities.  Through this open interaction, both parties created strong relationships that will lead to increased trade.
While surveying the attendees exchanging ideas, Fritz concluded that “this conference was held at a timely moment.  Obviously, there is great interest in containerized shipments of U.S. soybeans.  USSEC takes great pride in being able to bring these key individuals together and shape the future of containerized soybean shipments.  Through these activities, we build a strong export market that benefits U.S. soybean producers.”

The U.S. Soybean Export Council promotes U.S. soy internationally helping make soy the highest valued U.S. agricultural export at over $12 billion annually.  USSEC, formed by the farmer directors of both the American Soybean Association and United Soybean Board, incorporates the expertise of the soybean industry and soybean producer organizations to broaden promotional support for overseas marketing efforts.  The Board of Directors leads the activities of USSEC’s global network of staff and consultants to help ensure the U.S. continues to export approximately 50 percent of soybean production.

Contact:  Cathryn Dixson, 314-754-1322, cdixson@ussec.org.

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