Soy Transportation Coalition: We need to diversify our supply chain

Lagging supply chains are making it difficult for farmers to get their commodities to domestic and international customers.

It is something the Soy Transportation Coalition has been dealing with all summer, between low river levels and tension along the nation’s freight rails.

Turmoil along ag shipping routes has caused headaches for producers most of the growing season, and why the Coalition says it is always good to diversify your supply chains.

“One of the cardinal rules in supply chains is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. When you as an industry, when you as a company, have a variety of supply chain options, you stand to benefit and you’re going to be more competitive. It’s always a good day to try to diversify your supply chain. It’s particularly a good day to do so when we’ve gotten a number of these significant challenges. Whether it’s the state of our inland waterway system with low water levels on the Mississippi River, whether it is uncertainty and unreliability within the rail sector or the potential threat of a strike, certainly is concerning to a lot of people in agriculture,” said Mike Steenhoek.

Drought continues to make shipping along many of the major U.s. waterways a big challenge. Just recently, the Coalition brokered a deal to get grains out of the Midwest through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

“A number of key soybean and agricultural producing states that are adjacent to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. So, you’ve got this pretty significant maritime option to the north that can be able to provide connectivity with some of our customers in other countries. It’s not going to be the solution for everyone. There are certain areas of the country where you’re too far removed from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, but it is an option that should be more widely considered.”

Shippers wanting to move commodities through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway for the first time can even save some money.

“If you want to devote new freight to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, you will be eligible for a 50 percent reduction in tolls that are paid when you navigate with the seaway and their inventory of locks.”

The Gateway Incentive Agreement is available to ag shippers within the United States.

For a full breakdown of the trouble along the Mississippi River and how we got to where we are now, click HERE.