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14/11/2017 0:00 - Agricultural Commodities Market
Gran Rosario, the first soybean complex export node in the world

The Gran Rosario has been identified as “the most important oilseed complex in the world due to the geographical concentration of high scale crushing plants”. It is now considered “the most important soy complex export node in the whole world”. With the shipping of 40 million tons of soybean complex products during 2016, the Gran Rosario has surpassed the New Orleans’ Custom District (USA) and the port of Santos (Brazil) tonnages. Actually, GR is the origin of 44% of the world soymeal trade and 50% of the world soybean oil trade.

With a total of 39.36 Mt of soybean, soymeal and soybean oil dispatched during 2016, the Gran Rosario became the main soy complex export port of the world (Graphic Nº 1). It has surpassed the New Orleans’ Custom District (within the area of influence of the Gulf of Mexico), Louisiana, which exported 38.96 Mt of several soy products in 2016. Considering volume, Santos, next to Sao Paulo city in Brazil, is the third soy complex port. If we compute all kind of freight (bulks, liquids, containers, etc.), the port node of Santos is the most important of Latin American due to the commercial volume. Nevertheless, if we take into consideration only soy complex exports, the Gran Rosario greatly exceeded Santos, by 20 MT.


The Gran Rosario has already been identified as “the most important oilseed complex in the world due to the geographical concentration of high scale crushing plants”. Now it is labeled as “the most important soy complex export node in the whole world”.

There is no other place in the world where one can witness three factors regarding the oilseed crushing industry:

a) Geographical concentration of crushing plants. On a 70-kilometer strip of land on the right bank of the Parana River there are 20 crushing plants in 19 port terminals.

b) The high volume of daily crushing capacity in each individual plant, turning them into world leaders (Renova, Molinos Rio and Terminal VI have 20,000 t / day each one). Renova is developing enlargement plans in Timbues location to reach a crushing capacity of 30,000 t / day.

c) The high volume of daily crushing capacity in the Gran Rosario complex as whole, with a capacity reaching to 158,750 t / day. The entire Brazil oilseed crushing capacity equals to these 20 industrial plants located in the Gran Rosario.

Paranagua and Rio Grande, Brazilian ports of Parana and Rio Grande do Sul states, are in the 4th and 5th position in the ranking of Table N° 1. In the 11th place, it is located the Argentinian port of Bahia Blanca, with a soybean products exported volume of 3 Mt during 2016.

There is an important feature in the Gran Rosario; it is the world leader in the shipping of soymeal and soybean oil. 5 out of 10 ocean vessels carrying soymeal or soybean oil have loaded their cargoes in the port terminals of Gran Rosario. Most of the soy complex products exported from New Orleans or Santos are soybean since USA and Brazil are the main exporters or suppliers of raw soybean to China. Gran Rosario is a clear evidence of Argentina as the main supplier of soymeal and soybean oil in the world.

1. USA soy complex exports


USA has two main outlet nodes for its grain and by products exports. One of them is the outlet from the Pacific ports, being South East Asia, adding Japan and China, their main destinations. The other one is the mouth of the Mississipppi River, in the so called New Orleans’ Custom District, in the Gulf of Mexico. The latter is the main export node for bulk grains and their byproducts, according to AMS (Agriculture Marketing Service, USDA) data.

The Mississippi basin is the main artery of the North American grain marketing system, exporting corn, wheat, soybean and byproducts competitively. Due to the importance of the area, all the ports located in the Louisiana area (NO Custom District) were selected since the area is greater than the one covered by AMS, which has only selected the exports shipped from the ports located on the Mississppi river banks.

According to AMS, the ports along the Mississippi River, from Baton Rouge to Myrtle Grove (LA), are simply known as New Orleans or the port region of New Orleans. They are close enough, adjacent inclusive, to conform a great complex shipping complex. The New Orleans Port Region has all mode of transportation (sea, barge, rail and truck) which allows that ocean vessels can navigate toward ports located 360 km up river from the Gulf of Mexico. This complex gives easy access to the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Panama Canal.


From Table N° 2, you can see that New Orleans’ custom region exported 33.5 Mt of soybean (58% of the USA total exports), 4.9 Mt of soymeal or soymeal pellets (47% of the USA total exports) and 541 thousand tons of soybean oil (54% of the USA total exports) during 2016. As a summary, the main soy complex export node in USA shipped almost 39 Mt of soybean and their products in 2016.

2. Brazil soy complex exports

There are two exit routes for exporting grains and their byproducts in Brazil. One of them passes through the north ports: Sao Luis (Itaqui), Barcarena (Belém), Santarém, Manaus, Itaituba. The three latter are river ports located on the Amazona River. Santarém and Manaus can receive Panamax vessels requiring a mínimum draught of 39.5 feet of depth. The other exit route is in the Southeast region, where the main sea ports handle the main volume of Brazil exports; Santos, Paranaguá, Rio Grande, San Francisco Do Sul, Vitoria, Salvador, among the main ones.

There are 40 river and sea ports and 42 port terminals in Brazil. The main port of Brazil, and of Latin America, is Santos. Santos has several private port terminals y 29% of the national soy complex exports were shipped from there in 2016.


From Table N° 3 you can see that the main volume of the soy complex is shipped from Southeast ports (Santos, Paranaguá, Río Grande, San Francisco do Sul, Vitoria, etc.) representing 79% -all of them- of the national total. Santos, Paranaguá and Río Grande are the main ones.

Santos Port has 5 container terminals, 12 general cargo, 24 bulk liquid, 14 solid bulk, 2 automotive boarding terminals and one passenger terminal. It represents 28.6% in the Brazilian trade balance, being its main exported products those of the soybean complex, sugar, orange juice, corn and chemical paste of wood. In the same way that the ports of New Orleans area, in the United States, all the modes of transport available (barges from the waterway Tietê-Paraná, making their transshipment in Pederneiras; railways; pipelines and trucks by different roads) converge in the port of Santos. The Santos port channel currently has 42.64 feet of depth and there are plans to improve maintenance with the execution of additional dredging.

Through the port node of Santos, 14.47 Mt of soybeans, 4.83 Mt of soymeal and/or soy pellets and 30 thousand tons of soybean oil were exported in 2016, adding a total of 19.33 Mt.

3. Argentina soy complex exports. The Gran Rosario.

As in Brazil and USA, the bulk of grain and its byproducts logistics in Argentina are organized under two main port areas: the one comprising the port nodes of Quequén and Bahía Blanca, in the south of the province of Buenos Aires, and that of the Gran Rosario, which covers the port terminals located in a 70-km strip on the right bank of the Paraná River, from Timbúes to Arroyo Seco (also known as the Up-River Parana area).


In this exporting pole are installed 29 port terminals that operate different types of freights; 19 of them dispatch grains, oils and by-products in bulk to the whole world. Twelve (12) of these 19 port terminals have annexed oilseed crushing plants, some of them with the largest capacities in the world. There is another crushing plant outside the port area, but very close to the river bank so all the Gran Rosario area has 20 oilseed processing plants.

Through the Gran Rosario area 78% of the exports of grain, protein meals and vegetable oils from Argentina are shipped. The second place is occupied by the Bahia Blanca node, with an 11% share over the national figure. The year 2016 showed a true national record: Argentina exported 86 Mt of grains, oils and by-products, of which 67 Mt came out by the Gran Rosario.

The Gran Rosario exported 3.85 Mt of soya beans (40% of the national total), 29.7 Mt of protein meal and soya pellets (97% of the Argentinean shipments of these products) and 5.8 Mt of soybean oil (99% of shipments from Argentina). The gross total added 39.36 Mt for 2016.

If the grains and by-products are added and compared with the national figure, it will be highlighted that GR dispatched 63.2% of the soya beans, 96.2% of the protein meals and/or pellets and 97.3% of the vegetable oils from all over Argentina in 2016.

For that reason, it is asserted that 2016 was the year in which the Gran Rosario became the main soybean complex port-exporting node in the world, and exceeded the volume shipped from New Orleans and Santos. The figures enhance the economic significance of this geographical area, not only for Argentina but also for the external clients of the complex's products.


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Bolsa de Comercio de Rosario Córdoba 1402 - S2000AWV
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