eNews • August 5, 2011
Promoting a Cost-Effective, Reliable and Competitive Transportation System

STC hosts ag editors, journalists on tour of Southern Louisiana infrastructure

On July 23, the Soy Transportation Coalition hosted over 50 participants for a tour of transportation infrastructure sites in Southern Louisiana in conjunction with the annual Ag Media Summit.  The Ag Media Summit, the joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, the Livestock Publications Council and the American Business Media Agri-Council, was held in New Orleans July 23-27. 

Many of the STC tour participants were editors and journalists for the leading farm publications in the country.  The goal of the tour was the further illustrate to members of the ag media the importance of transportation to farmer profitability. 

The Mississippi Gulf region is the leading launching point for soybeans and corn for the export market.  In 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 827 million bushels of soybeans (57 percent of total exports) and 1,173 million bushels of corn (62 percent of total exports) departed the U.S. from terminals and ports in Southern Louisiana. 

 Tour participants began the day with a breakfast and a presentation by Louisiana State Senator A.G. Crowe about the proposed Louisiana International Deepwater Transfer Terminal - a multibillion dollar deepwater super-port to be located at the mouth of the Mississippi River.  The goal of the project is to create a transfer facility for ships that are too large to navigate the Mississippi River. 

The tour then proceeded to the Port of New Orleans to visit the port's growing container terminal.  Containers are a growing segment in the export market for U.S. agricultural products.  International customers often prefer containers to bulk shipments due to a container's ability to provide a volume more compatible with the customer's storage and production capacity, greater assurance of quality preservation, and enhanced ability to source a delivery of grain or oilseeds from a more specific geographic region.  The Panama Canal's expansion in 2014 is projected to increase the volume of containers arriving at the Port of New Orleans, which, in turn, will provide greater opportunities for agricultural shippers to access containers for exports back to Asia.  

Following lunch, the group was divided into two smaller groups for visits to Zen-Noh Grain and Bunge's export terminals - both along the Mississippi River.  Issues such as the need for adequate channel depth, infrastructure enhancements at our nation's ports, and investment in locks and dams were all expressed and discussed.

The Soy Transportation Coalition is comprised of thirteen state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association, and the United Soybean Board. The National Grain and Feed Association and the National Oilseed Processors Association serve as ex-officio members of the organization.

Soy Transportation Coalition
1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy., Ankeny, Iowa 50023
Phone: (515) 727-0665 Fax (515) 251-8657
Email msteenhoek@soytransportation.org
Web www.soytransportation.org

Funded by the Soybean Checkoff