Trade experts say delays of U.S. wheat exports out of Texas because of Hurricane Harvey will persist for a few more days. Shipments were stalled last week by flooded rail lines and closed ports.
“The real issue has been washouts in the rail beds,” said Steve Mercer, vice president of communications at U.S. Wheat Associates.
When the storm hit land, it closed export terminals that handle much of the hard-red winter wheat from the U.S. Southern Plains, said Mercer, adding that ports at Corpus Christi were not hit as hard.
“A couple of the elevators said they had been able to load and unload railcars and the trains are operating at about 80 percent of capacity,” said Mercer, “so probably that southern area [on the Texas coast] is going to recover more quickly.”
Wheat shipped out of Texas goes to Nigeria, Colombia and Brazil to make bread. Mercer says shipments to Mexico, the United States’ largest importer, are mostly by rail through West Texas and are unaffected by Harvey.