Market News & Headlines >> Ida Slams Gulf Grain Terminals

Based on Monday reports, Hurricane Ida figures to cause significant disruptions to U.S. agricultural exports out of Louisiana Gulf ports, which handle about 60% of all U.S. grain and soybean exports.

Cargill on Monday told Reuters News Service that its Reserve, Louisiana, terminal, one of two the company operates along the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico, “sustained significant damage” from Ida, which roared ashore as a powerful Category 4 hurricane. Rival commodities traders Bunge Ltd and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co said they were working to assess damage to their export facilities in the area.

Images of the damaged Cargill terminal, with a twisted and partially collapsed grain conveyor system, circulated on Twitter and were shared among grain traders and barge shippers, Reuters noted.

When power can be restored will also have a significant impact on export operations. All of New Orleans was without power on Monday.

CHS Inc. late on Monday said that its Myrtle Grove, Louisiana export terminal may be without power for 2-4 weeks and that grain shipments will be diverted through next month, according to a Reuters report. The CHS Myrtle Grove terminal handles wheat, soybeans, corn, rice, DDGS (distillers dried grains with solubles) and specialty grains for export to customers in Asia Pacific and Latin American countries. Located 25 miles south of New Orleans, it is the first terminal on the Mississippi River.

As a result of Hurricane Ida’s intensity, major transmission lines that deliver power to numerous Louisiana parishes were out of service on Monday. More than 2,000 miles of transmission lines were out of service Monday, along with 216 substations, according to New Orleans power provider, Entergy.

A giant tower that helps carry key overhead transmission lines over the Mississippi River to the New Orleans area withstood the force of Hurricane Katrina but was destroyed by Ida.

Bunge plans to reopen on Tuesday an export elevator in Destrehan, Louisiana, that is the only port-based crushing plant in the Central Gulf Export Corridor, spokeswoman Deb Seidel told Reuters. The facility will resume operations after shutting on Saturday, "provided the evacuation order for the parish is lifted and there is not significant damage," she said in an email.

Destrehan is one of Bunge's busiest port facilities, handling soybeans, corn, wheat and sorghum from over 50 grain elevators along the Mississippi River, according to the company's website.