Argentina’s Rosario Port Falls in 2023 Exports, New Orleans Takes Top Spot

May 01, 2024

By Ryan Hanrahan

Reuters’ reported late last week that “Argentina’s massive Rosario farming port lost its spot as the world’s No. 2 grains export hub in 2023, a report from a local exchange showed on Friday, underscoring the impact of a historic drought that hammered corn, wheat and soy last year.”

“Rosario shipped out 42.4 million metric tons of grains last year, falling below the sprawling Santos port in Brazil, which exported 62.3 million tons,” Reuters reported. “New Orleans, in the United States, nabbed the No. 1 spot, the Rosario grains exchange report said. The Argentine port was the top in the world in 2019 and held the No. 2 spot from 2020 to 2022, the exchange added.”

The remainder of the top 5 exporting ports were rounded out by Belem, Brazil and Vancouver, Canada, while Ukrainian and Russian ports came in at No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 on the top global exporter list.

Tons of Grain Exports in 2023, by Port. Courtesy of Reuters.

Tons of Grain Exports in 2023, by Port. Courtesy of Reuters.

“The South American country’s (Argentina’s) grains production has rebounded in the latest 2023/24 season, though the corn crop has been hit by an insect plague spreading disease, while soy faces potential cuts due to dry and hot weather in the northern farm regions,” Reuters reported. “The Rosario exchange also acknowledged the ‘phenomenal performance’ of the Santos port in Brazil, which doubled its farm exports in six years, ‘hand in hand with an explosion in Brazilian grains production.'”

Argentina Opening New Port in Region

While the Rosario Port lost its spot as a top-2 exporter in 2023, that could change moving forward, as Reuters’ Maximilian Heath reported this past Wednesday that “Argentina’s government on Thursday said there are plans for a $550 million investment to build a new port in the Rosario region, a major farm hub which moves more than 80% of the South American nation’s agricultural and agro-industrial exports.”

“The government did not give details on where the funds would come from, but a source at the CIARA-CEC chamber of grain exporters and processors told Reuters on condition of anonymity that local port operator Terminales y Servicios S.A., which already manages three ports, was making the investment,” Heath reported.

“‘We’re announcing an investment for the construction of a new agro-industrial port in Timbues, on the Parana River,’ presidential spokesperson Manuel Adorni told a news conference, referring to a town some 50 km (32 miles) north of the city of Rosario,” Heath reported. “‘The investment will be around $550 million. Construction will begin this month,’ he said, without giving more detail.”

“Companies such as Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus already have grain loading and unloading terminals in the region,” Heath reported.

Current Argentina Exports

The addition of a new grain port in Argentina could help the country further boost its exports of soybeans and crops, of which it is already “one of the world’s top two exporters of soybean oil and meal, and No. 3 in corn exports,” Heath reported.

The Iowa Farm Bureau’s Aaron Gerdts reported at the end of March that Argentina is again expected to be the largest exporter of soybean oil in the world in 2024, with its exports accounting for 42% of world trade despite its production accounting for just 11% world production.

“From 2018-2022 Argentina’s largest trading partner was India, who took almost half of its soybean oil exports,” Gerdts reported.

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