Soy, sugar traders fight for space in Latam’s largest port; costs jump

SAO PAULO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Soy and sugar traders are fighting for room in Latin America’s largest port, rushing to secure loading slots as the slowest Brazilian soy harvest in 10 years pushes the grains export window into the sugar season. Congestion was hitting Brazil’s Santos port just as consumers worldwide have been turning to top exporter Brazil for sugar and soybean supplies. The glut of shipments waiting to leave is boosting transport costs and will likely delay arrivals at destinations. Sugar prices hit a four-year high late last month, boosted by supply tightness. Soybean prices, already near seven-year highs, could rise further at a time when Brazil is effectively the world’s main supplier. “It is a perfect storm, a combination of factors that are leading to soy and sugar to compete for logistics,” said Tiago Medeiros, Brazil head and executive director for Czarnikow Group, a food trader and supply chain services provider. Brazil usually starts soybean exports in January, with volumes increasing in later months. This season, planting was delayed, as was the harvest, pushing that window further out. Shipments from the new sugar crop usually start around April, but companies are still shipping stocks from a bumper crop… continue reading

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