Brazil’s corn shipments since July have broken all previous monthly records, with annual exports 43.2 MMT surpassing even 2019’s bumper year 42.5 MMT. However, both the huge increase in trans-Atlantic shipments (at 21 MMT more than double those of 2021 and 6 MMT more than in 2019) together with an increasing preponderance for cargo to be carried on Kamsarmax tonnage (at 20 MMT, 46% of all shipments and 7 MMT more than in any previous year), as well as China’s first purchases of Chinese corn are the stand-out features of last year’s export season.
In the Atlantic basin Egypt has traditionally been Brazil’s main export destination and at 4 MMT shipments did increase by 0.7 MMT y-o-y, but in 2022 exports to Spain at 4.9 MMT (up 2.9 MMT +142% y-o-y) rose dramatically into top spot as Spain turned to Brazil to make up less available Ukrainian corn. Brazil’s corn exports to all of Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa have received a boost from shortfalls from Ukraine with Portugal 1 MMT(up 0.4 MMT y-o-y), Italy 0.9 MMT (up a huge 0.8 MMT y-o-y), the Netherlands 0.9 MMT (up 0.5 MMT y-o-y) and Israel 0.6 MMT (up 0.5 MMT) the most eye-catching. Elsewhere the strong dollar and more availability of product saw Brazilian exports to Colombia up by 1.7 MMT y-o-y to 2.4 MMT and Mexico ahead by 1.3 MMT y-o-y to 1.7 MMT.
On fronthaul shipments to Brazil’s largest export market, Iran, more than doubled at 6.6 MMT whilst exports to Japan skyrocketed by more than 3 MMT y-o-y to 5 MMT. Cargo destined for Vietnam doubled y-o-y to 1.9 MMT the same figure as South Korea whilst big percentage increases were also registered to Taiwan (1.5 MMT) and Saudi Arabia (1.3 MMT). Of the 22.3 MMT corn to move east of the Cape of Good Hope, 19.6 MMT was carried by Panamax/Kamsarmax/Post Panamax though Ultramax’s increased market share to 2 MMT as shipments increased to the more draft restricted ports of Bangladesh, Jordan, and The Philippines.
As port improvements in Brazil continue to evolve, Kamsarmax’s increasingly seem to be the vessel of choice, accounting for 8 MMT of the trans-Atlantic and 12 MMT of outbound cargo movement of Brazilian corn in 2022 . In comparison to 2019, Kamsarmax’s have increased market share on outbound destinations from 39 to 54% and on transatlantic from 15 to a whopping 37% of all shipments. With China starting to buy Brazilian corn in significant quantities, around 25 shipments since November 2022, the Kamsarmax sector may well increase market share in 2023, though the shallower drafted 84-88,000 deadweight Post Panamax’s have also been gaining traction (they now account for 10% of the outbound market compared to just 3% in 2019) with some Southeast Asian countries in particular favoring these larger shipment sizes.