Cargill restarts Westwego, Louisiana, grain export terminal after Ida


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Global grain trader Cargill Inc restarted its Westwego, Louisiana, grain export terminal and on Monday unloaded its first grain barge since Ida shuttered the facility two weeks ago, the company said on Tuesday.

Power was also restored to Cargill’s heavily damaged terminal in Reserve, Louisiana, but the company is still assessing damages from the storm and developing “phased reopening plans,” Cargill spokeswoman April Nelson said.

The company is monitoring rains from Tropical Storm Nicholas on Tuesday, the second major storm to hit the region in recent weeks, but it has not yet impacted recovery efforts, Nelson said.

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Cargill is the latest major grain trader to revive export operations after Ida devastated the region’s power grid and damaged some of the nearly dozen grain terminals dotted along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico.

Rival exporters Louis Dreyfus Co and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co have been loading export shipments for several days, while a facility owned by Bunge Ltd remains shuttered, according to the companies and shipping sources.

U.S. grain exports slumped to their lowest level in years last week as shippers struggled to restart their facilities at the Gulf, where some 60% of U.S. crop exports exit the country.

Louisiana state officials said rains from Nicholas are complicating the recovery from Ida, particularly in flooded parishes and those still without power, and in areas along flood-swollen rivers.

“We’ve gone through this sort of thing in the past, where we will get two storms at a time during the peak of hurricane system,” said Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture. “It complicates matters.”

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago, additional reporting by P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago, Editing by Franklin Paul)