Chinese importers face severe delays unloading US soybeans

Several Chinese soybean importers, including state-owned Sinograin, are facing delays unloading cargoes carrying US soybeans at Chinese ports because of a lack of GMO licences from the Chinese government as well as other forms of red tape, market sources told Agricensus.

Both state-owned and private Chinese soybean importers have had several of their US soybean cargoes stopped from unloading at China’s ports, causing huge demurrage fees to be paid and potential congestion at ports.

“Sinograin has had this issue recently. I heard their GMO licences for US soybeans were not issued on time,” one China-based soybean trader at an international trading house told Agricensus, adding that Singorain is not the only one.

“There are several other companies’ US beans stopped at ports,” the same trader said.

The cause of delayed unloading for these cargoes was also attributed to internal logistics issues within the relevant Chinese authorities.

“[There were] problems getting instructions as to where to transport the beans internally,” one US-based futures broker told Agricensus.

The exact number of cargoes being stopped from unloading is unknown, but other market sources reported the cost of renting cargoes due to the delayed unloading could total $40 million.

Meanwhile, another state-backed major Chinese importer Jiusan was also heard having administrative issues with Chinese Customs regarding US soybeans.

“Jiusan was asked to pay the 30% [additional] tariff first and get a reimbursement,” one China-based market source said.

“It was a technical issue,” a second soybean trader said, adding that “their registration with customs showed they have to pay the 30% but they actually have the [tariff-free] quota”.

The Chinese government has granted Chinese crushers tariff-free quota to purchases US soybean in recent rounds of trade talks.

These cargoes that are facing delays at Chinese ports would have been purchased between October and September this year during which the Chinese government offered crushers several tranches of quota to buy US beans.