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Rail News: Shippers

Soy Transportation Coalition, Panama Canal Authority extend partnership pact


The Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) and Panama Canal Authority recently extended their memorandum of understanding (MOU) to perform joint promotional events and exchange information in an effort to raise awareness of the Panama Canal expansion and its potential impact on U.S. agriculture. The original MOU was signed in May 2011.

The MOU will enable the authority to keep the STC informed about the progress of the expansion, said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano in a press release.

In fall 2011, the STC released a white paper that examined the impact of the expansion on U.S. agriculture. The Panama Canal Authority assisted the coalition's research by supplying information. The expansion will allow ocean vessels to be loaded with an additional 500,000 bushels of soybeans for the export market, which will equate to an additional $6 million to "7 million in value per vessel, the study found.

"Last year, approximately 600 million bushels of U.S. soybeans transited the Panama Canal en route to our international customers. We anticipate that this important link in our logistics chain will become even more significant following the completion of the canal expansion," said STC Chairman Pat Knouff, a soybean farmer in Minster, Ohio. "It is in the interest of both the Soy Transportation Coalition and the Panama Canal Authority to work together to ensure that we fully take advantage of the future efficiency gains from the expansion."

Established in 2007, the STC includes 12 state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association and United Soybean Board. The coalition aims to position the soybean industry to benefit from a transportation system that delivers cost-effective, reliable and competitive service.