What You Didn’t Know About Containers

Everything You Didn’t Know About Containers


  • Soybeans exports have doubled in the last two decades and now account for about half of the crop grown in the United States.


  • Illinois, the largest producer of soybeans in the country, exported more than $3 billion worth of the crop last year.


  • Container shipping underpins the global economy, moving $4 trillion of goods each year. 


  • The movement of soybeans by container has represented about 5 to 7 percent of total soybean exports in recent years.


  • Taiwan was the largest destination for U.S. soybean container exports in the 2017 crop year, with 47,370 TEUs.


  • The imbalance of containers in the U.S. is a complex problem for the logistics industry. Shipowners often opt to send their containers back to Asia and other international markets empty rather than wait for an available export load. Empty container repositioning costs the shipping industry up to $20 billion a year.


  • Containers ships from ports in the Northwest can reach China in about 17 days. From New Orleans, the departure city for about 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports, ocean transit to China takes about 30 days.