A Study of Grain and Soybean Export Flows: Uncovering Their Determinants and Implications for Infrastructure Investment

Tobias Sytsma, Wesley Wilson
2021 unpublished
According to the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. farmers export more than 20 percent of what they produce. Since 2000, exports have been rising virtually every year, increasing from $58 billion in 2000 to over $133 billion in 2015. This growth has put pressure on U.S. ports which are vital links to foreign entities and trade. Investment in ports can and do have a significant influence on trade flows. However, there is little research that examines determinants of flows from a port to
more » ... foreign country or from the production-rich U.S. interior to the ports en route to foreign countries. In this study, we provide a comprehensive examination of trade for selected agricultural commodities, namely corn, soybeans, wheat, and grain sorghum. This examination includes a description of the countries that import these commodities and the U.S. ports from which they import, as well as a description of the domestic U.S. suppliers of these commodities and the U.S. ports they use to export over time. A focus of the analysis is on the ports that importers and exporters choose to use. Two separate econometric analyses are presented: an "importer analysis" and an "exporter analysis." In both cases, the analyses focus on the ports used. In the importer analysis (Section I), we model decisions of 151 foreign countries from 96 U.S. ports from 2003 to 2017, and explain which ports are used and the intensity of trade (quantity) between the foreign country and the U.S. port. In the second, exporter analysis (Section 2), we examine the decisions of 70 different origination points in the Upper Midwest and their choice of ports (i.e., where they send their product) from 2014 to 2018. In both cases, the decisions are framed in terms of shipping rates, port identifiers, and port attributes. In both the import demand and export supply analyses, we find that the cost of transportation and port attributes are important variables. The results are then used to evaluate the changes in trade to changes in the transportation costs and in po [...]
doi:10.22004/ag.econ.310904 fatcat:if6bv773gjbojb6ozfmh2ydn6i