Long-Term Forecasting of World Grain Trade and U.S. Gulf Exports

Important changes occurring in the world grain trade will affect the spatial distribution of grain flows and affect large-scale transportation projects. Most important among these are developments in ethanol and in Brazil and China. This paper develops a spatial optimization model based on a long-term competitive equilibrium to make projections in the world grain trade and shipments from individual ports to 2025. Results indicate that world trade should increase by about 47%, with the fastest growth occurring in imports to China and Pakistan and the slowest growth in Japan and the European Union, traditionally large markets. Most increases in terms of volume are expected in soybeans (49%), followed by corn (26%). Most of the U.S. export growth is expected through the barge system to U.S. ports on the Gulf of Mexico, with negligible growth through the Pacific Northwest and lakes. Although a multitude of reasons explain this expected trend, one is the growth in ethanol concentrated in the western states, which will require shifting production to meet demand. As a result, the exportable surplus from these regions will decline, and much of the growth in exports will be through the U.S. Gulf and from Argentina and Brazil, particularly northern Brazil, through spatial competition. Reflecting the impacts of growth in demand as well as international and intermodal competition, these results provide insight for transport project planners about the long-term growth in exports from particular origins and routes.


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  • Accession Number: 01006651
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309093821
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Oct 25 2005 1:06PM