USSEC hosted a team of 12 animal utilization (AU) industry representatives from core customer companies from 5 Latin American countries to the New Orleans area in October 2016.
Through a series of visits and meetings over the course of three days, the customers gained first-hand exposure to some of the advantages of U.S. Soy, in relation to logistics, finance, and quality. Participants had the opportunity to interact with two USSEC member firms, a shipping agent, and USSEC consultant experts, and discuss purchasing and maritime freights.
The visit to Thionville Laboratories catered to specific interests expressed by customers from the Dominican Republic, English-speaking Caribbean, and Mexico. The CEO of Thionville Laboratories extended a warm welcome to the team and shared information relating to the technical aspects of surveying, its conditions, requirements, and advantages. The staff in charge of the laboratory and analysis discussed technical topics ranging from sampling procedures, to input analysis methods, to the equipment and resources available, and the most current techniques. The team had the unique opportunity to see the laboratory conduct a series of tests on soybean meal samples that had been submitted in advance by one of the firms in attendance, giving way to in-depth discussions.
CHS Inc. hosted the team at their Myrtle Grove facilities. It was the first time most of the members of the group had ever visited a port and export facilities, where they could tour and interact with trading representatives and local staff in charge. This opportunity led to discussions focused on current market perspectives, loading and exporting processes, execution of contracts, and competitive logistics in the U.S.
The third visit took place at Bluewater Shipping, Inc. After a presentation about their company and the services they offer, the discussion turned to the information and resources available to keep track and evaluate logistics and shipping, and follow-up vessels en route.
During the site visits, USSEC consultants Mark Kuehl (expert on freights), Ronald Perez and Francisco Cabrera (experts on purchasing and contracting), discussed the following topics with the group: pricing of products, domestic river and barge logistics, elevation facilities, and related costs. Mr. Kuehl conducted a presentation on maritime freights, freight market structure, and perspectives. Based on the most up to date information and figures, he led participants through comprehensive examples of freight estimations and transit times, which highlighted the logistical advantages of U.S. Soy and grains.
The AU team was escorted by USSEC consultants Pedro Lora, Fradbelin Escarraman, and Gerardo Luna, whose varied knowledge and expertise provided participants with a tailor-made experience, which allowed them to participate in discussions around key aspects of soybean meal, products, exports, technical, trade and marketing related issues.
The trip was a great success, and the team expressed their appreciation to USSEC and all the companies and firms visited.