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News: An update on carriage of soya beans

03 April 2020

The club continues to see a large number of soya bean claims year on year. In an effort to provide a comprehensive guide on the carriage of soya beans, the club previously produced a special bulletin which is available here. The start of 2020 has again shown a significant number of claims for loss and damage to soya bean cargoes. The club is aware of at least three claims trends affecting this trade. 

Firstly, there have been concerns raised about the quality of the 2019 crop in Brazil due to the prolonged dry season in that country. This was in fact one of the causes of the massive fires in the Amazon last year that is also said to have affected the crop.

Secondly, geopolitics is having a direct impact on the availability and movement of soya bean cargoes. As a result of the US/China trade conflict and the lack of US soya beans on the market, shippers are said to be having difficulties sourcing good quality soya beans in Brazil due to the exceptionally high demand for Brazilian soya beans. The club is aware of at least one case where very poor Brazilian quality soya beans, including quite a large proportion of 'bin burnt' blackened soya beans were loaded with the quality certificates indicating that the cargo was within the sales contract specification when it simply could not have been. Issues relating to soya bean cargoes are not restricted to those on loading but also on discharge. The club understands that as a result of customs import restrictions in China, various ships loaded with soya beans have been forced to wait at anchorage, resulting in deterioration to the stowed cargo with widespread bin burn, heat damage and caking. Delays in discharging soya beans can cause several problems such as self-heating and microbiological deterioration of the cargo.

Thirdly, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is affecting the movement of soya bean cargoes and cargo surveyors. The club is aware of cargo surveyors facing difficulties attending cargo surveys due to travelling restrictions and population lockdowns in many countries worldwide.

We would like to thank Representaçóes Proinde (Santos) Ltda and Brookes Bell for their assistance and contribution with this article.