BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS, U.S. — With a bumper soybean crop and the ongoing trade dispute with China, U.S. soybean farmers should consider containerized shipping this season, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) said.

For the first time in 35 years, U.S. growers planted more soybeans than corn. However, prices have dropped since China placed a 25% tax on U.S. imports. Chinese importers have looked for new sources of soybeans causing American farmers to store more of their harvest.

“This trade shift is occurring against the backdrop of a fall harvest that experts forecast to be record-setting in terms of production,” said Eric Woodie, trade analyst with the ISA. “We see a major opportunity in containerized shipping of soybeans, which will open the door for American farmers to access new Asia-Pacific and European markets.”

Containerized shipping offers several benefits for the U.S. soybean industry, the ISA said. It better meets the needs of customers who want to purchase smaller quantities, minimize their inventory investment, purchase soybeans with precise product attributes or seek fast turnaround of their orders to increase time-to-market and/or maintain quality.

Containerized shipping also can benefit producers, cooperatives and small suppliers who cannot fulfill demand for large shipments via bulk vessels. In fact, by 2019, the global container market demand is projected to increase nearly 5% over just three years.