Welcome to another instalment of Behind the Desk! Today we are in London. Where we are very busy loading soybeans into ocean importexport freight containers. Containers, or boxes as I prefer to call them, provide a convenient means to transport goods between manufacturers and buyers. A tremendous amount of products, such as Electronics and clothing, manufactured in Southeast Asia are loaded into boxes, transported by truck or rail to the ship yards for their journey to United States consumers by large steamships to US ports. Once in the States, the containers are transported.
Either by truck or rail to their final distribution points. Rather than ship these containers back to the ship yards empty, and paying the railroad to move empty freight, these boxes are utilized to carry bulk commodities back to Southeast Asia. US produced corn, soybeans, wheat and DDG’s Distiller’s dried grains are commonly loaded into these containers for export to Southeast Asia. Heritage Cooperative has been participating in the container loading business for almost 10 years. We ship soybeans out of our London, Derby, Kileville branches and occasionally Mechanicsburg and Marysville will join in.
The fun. In order for the process to work, the branch needs to be in close proximity to an intermodal railroad yard, like Columbus, that has market access to empty boxes and ability to load full boxes. Container loading is a labor intensive process for our branches. Each box has specific weight and grade guidelines that must be met. A conveyor is used to load the box from one end and cardboard is used to hold the grain in place until the doors can be closed. The container market provides a completive market for branches.
Container Loading with Ed Nienaber
That would normally have to rely on hauling by truck to a local processor. In some years we have loaded as many as 3 million bushels of beans, which equates to over 3,000 containers. The prime loading opportunities also coincide with our harvest and winter bean exports program. Once we load the container at one of Heritage facilities it takes about one month the get to the port of call in the Asian Pacific Rim. The next time you’re waiting at a railroad crossing as a train passes containing boxes, there’s a good chance some of them may contain.