Infrastructure Investments Strengthen Soybean Supply Chain

MarineLink.com
Thursday, April 03, 2014
ISA efforts to open soybean markets through improved transportation infrastructure span overseas, including a recent trade mission to Southeast Asia that focused on exporting more Illinois soybeans in containers. Photo by Scott Sigman.

Transportation plays a crucial role in the soybean supply chain. With access to multiple transportation modes, Illinois soybean farmers enjoy significant advantages for reaching domestic and global markets. But aging transportation infrastructure can increase costs for Illinois farmers.

Working with business, government and industry leaders, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is addressing current infrastructure challenges and finding solutions to ensure Illinois soybean farmers have access to the resources they need to get crops to market. ISA is focused on outreach at multiple levels: local, state, national and international.

"ISA serves as a facilitator between farmers and stakeholders, working to increase support for major infrastructure maintenance work through non-traditional approaches, including funding," says Paul Rasmussen, soybean farmer from Genoa, Ill., and ISA transportation vice chair.

To spread the word that Illinois must find a way to support continued improvements to its transportation infrastructure, ISA recently released new resources on ilsoy.org/transportation, including a presentation and informational video.

"These materials bring attention to the unique transportation challenges we face in Illinois," said Rasmussen. "The goal is to make every Illinois soybean farmer well-versed in the key issues, which prepares us to discuss problems and solutions with the people who can effect change."

Local Action Creates Local Impact

In its work with local government, ISA is helping to identify specific bridges that could be repaired with funds from municipal bonds, using Peoria County as a pilot project area.

"ISA supports the multiple ways soybeans get from farm gate to market," Rasmussen said. "Every bridge that is posted for load and every lock that has to close for emergency repairs can create delays or detours that reduce the profitability of the soybean industry."

ISA is helping Peoria County prioritize which county and township bridges and road segments are the best candidates for bond financing, with recommendations to be completed in late spring. Brian Elsasser, Peoria County board member and grain farmer from Princeville, Ill., appreciates ISA's efforts to look out for the needs of rural residents like himself and his constituents.

"We have more local bridges under restriction than ever before, and we've got to find new revenue sources," he said. "The board is grateful for the dialogue ISA has started and the opportunity to work toward alternative funding solutions."

As Tim Long, president of Long Economic Development Advisors explains, bond financing represents a viable approach to the question of how to finance area infrastructure improvements.

"Bond financing is not a new concept, but is definitely a creative approach for funding critical infrastructure updates," he said. "It takes a little legwork to line up the right resources, but bonds can successfully fund repairs that may otherwise take years to move to the top of priority lists."

Next steps for the project include identifying potential revenue streams to pay back borrowed money to bondholders, such as federal monies, grants and taxes.

Work Continues at State Level
ISA also is addressing state transportation issues. ISA directors and staff meet with state and national legislators regularly to discuss important legislation, such as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). ISA coordinates with other government organizations, such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Illinois Department of Transportation, to foster work infrastructure improvement projects.

ISA researchers concluded in 2012 that public-private partnerships (P3) provide one solution to dealing with repairs needed on deteriorating locks and dams. ISA approached the Rock Island District Army Corps of Engineers to seek a partnership to help the district supplement funding.

"No other organization had approached the Corps to help and proactively work on developing the P3 concept to the degree ISA did," said Rick Granados, regional asset manager at USACE's Mississippi River Valley Division. "Collaboration with ISA to improve waterways through nontraditional funding is a natural fit with an alternative funding concept the Corps is considering."

Taking the Illinois Soy Story Overseas Exporting soybeans in shipping containers is an emerging, alternative transportation channel for Illinois soybeans to reach foreign markets that ISA is exploring for farmers. In February, a delegation of ISA directors and staff traveled to Southeast Asia on a checkoff-funded trade mission that focused exclusively on transportation logistics and container exports. The team conducted more than a dozen meetings in five days, talking with global shipping carriers, port authority management and soybean importers in Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.

"We built relationships with key executives overseas and discussed the advantages of Illinois soybeans and Illinois infrastructure," says Mark Sprague, soybean farmer from Hull, Ill., and ISA director. "We learned more about their processes and logistical considerations, which will help us provide them with shipment routings that best serve them, and in turn, their customers."

Intermodal containers provide a viable opportunity for Illinois soybeans to reach Asian markets. Many packaged goods and raw materials imported from Asia and elsewhere come to the U.S. in intermodal containers that can be carried by ship, train and truck without having to be opened.

"With the importance of Asian markets for our soybeans, these are important discussions for the Illinois soybean industry," Sprague added.

In the past, thousands of containers returned to Asian ports of origin empty. However, shipping companies are recognizing the value of filling these empty containers with Illinois soybeans instead of sending them back empty. The approach provides a more efficient, environmentally friendly and profitable option for both shipper and customer. Illinois currently has 14 grain and soybean transloading facilities operating throughout the state.

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Duke Energy to Help Develop Jeffersonville Port Site

Duke Energy Indiana has selected a 140-acre parcel of land inside the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville in Clark County for the utility's 2015 Site Readiness Program.

UNOLS Seeks Nominations for Council Positions

The University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) is an organization of academic oceanographic institutions working in cooperation with agencies of the U.

Savannah Harbor Expansion Project Update

Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited the Port of Savannah on Thursday, for an update on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).

Bulk Carrier Trends

Q88 LLC Opens Office in London

Q88 LLC has opened a new office in London. Located in Soho, the cultural center of London's West End district, the office will serve as a hub for business development and client relations.

IRS Introduces Ship Construction Standards

The International Register of Shipping has submitted goal-based new ship construction standards for verification audit by the International Maritime Organisation.

Golden Ocean: Worst Bulk Market Since 1980s

Dry bulk shipping firm Golden Ocean reported first-quarter earnings below forecasts on Thursday and said its market had gone from "bad to worse" with market conditions not seen in three decades.

Container Ships

Chevron Hires Viking Princess

Eidesvik Offshore has signed a contract for 19 months with Chevron UK employment for one platform supply vessel (PSV) Viking Princess.    The vessel will be

Wärtsilä Bags BWM Systems Order from Jinhai Shipyard

Wärtsilä Corporation, has received an order for ballast water management systems (BWMS) for three new container ships being built for a major European shipping

CMA-CGM to Call Port of Baltimore

International container shipping company CMA-CGM of France announced that it will begin service within the next couple of weeks to the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore.

News

Lifting of US Crude Oil Export Ban Possible within Year

The U.S. Congress could lift the 40-year old ban on domestic crude oil exports within a year as a drop in gasoline prices and the potential return of Iranian

Duke Energy to Help Develop Jeffersonville Port Site

Duke Energy Indiana has selected a 140-acre parcel of land inside the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville in Clark County for the utility's 2015 Site Readiness Program.

UNOLS Seeks Nominations for Council Positions

The University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) is an organization of academic oceanographic institutions working in cooperation with agencies of the U.

Government Update

Lifting of US Crude Oil Export Ban Possible within Year

The U.S. Congress could lift the 40-year old ban on domestic crude oil exports within a year as a drop in gasoline prices and the potential return of Iranian

US Orders Owner to Clean Up Ruptured Pipeline

Federal order ensures continued action on Santa Barbara County oil spill   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard issued a joint federal

Suppression of Random Drug Test Results: A Bad and Unnecessary Decision

Last September, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) unsettled much of the U.S. maritime industry when he dismissed with prejudice a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) action

Intermodal

Israeli Dockworkers End Ports Strike

Israeli dockworkers ended a two-day strike on Thursday that had shut down the country's two main seaports in protest at the creation of new foreign-run ports.   Some 2,

Shreyas Shipping Turns Around

Shreyas Shipping and Logistics swung to a net profit of Rs. 61.75 crore (about $9.6 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, a big turnaround from its loss of Rs.

Port of Duluth Intermodal Project Underway

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administrator, Chip Jaenichen, today joined Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Congressman Rick Nolan, Duluth Mayor Don Ness,

Logistics

Savannah Harbor Expansion Project Update

Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited the Port of Savannah on Thursday, for an update on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).

Israeli Dockworkers End Ports Strike

Israeli dockworkers ended a two-day strike on Thursday that had shut down the country's two main seaports in protest at the creation of new foreign-run ports.   Some 2,

Q88 LLC Opens Office in London

Q88 LLC has opened a new office in London. Located in Soho, the cultural center of London's West End district, the office will serve as a hub for business development and client relations.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3252 sec (3 req/sec)