Trade wars keep soybean ship adrift in the Pacific for more than a month

A gigantic freighter carrying 70k tons of American soybeans has been stuck at sea for a month amidst the escalating trade dispute between the US and China.


August 10, 2018

In other maritime-bean news, a shipment of American soybeans worth more than $20m has been drifting aimlessly in the Pacific Ocean for an entire month without docking.

The reason: They’re caught in the ol’ trade-war Bermuda Triangle as US and China duke it out in the ultimate tariff showdown.

Soya think you can sail?

Owned by JP Morgan Asset Management, the Peak Pegasus is a 750-ft bulk carrier weighing 86m lbs that was scheduled to unload 70k tons of American soybeans in China on July 6, shortly after Donald Trump implemented a first round of tariffs on $34B worth of Chinese goods.

The PP rushed to the docks in hopes of passing customs before Beijing fired back, but the ship missed the deadline by 30 minutes… and has been sailing around in soybean purgatory ever since.

Its circular voyage is now costing the Amsterdam-based company that owns the cargo almost $13k a day.

Full speed ahead

As of Wednesday, Trump had unsheathed a second round of tariffs on $16B worth of Chinese goods — and you better believe Beijing responded.

In other words, as things continue to escalate, ol’ Peg may be treading water for a while.

The Guardian reports that the extra costs of staying at sea so far will result in a loss of more than $400k.

Why don’t they just starbird the jib and turn around or whatever?

That question made zero sense, but commodities experts believe their ‘just keep swimming’ philosophy still makes financial sense for at least a few months compared to biting the bullet and offloading the beans in China. 

With the 25% tariff, dropping anchor in China would add an estimated $6m to the cost of importation.

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