Port Manatee hosts cargo ship loaded with 47,000 metric tons of corn

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 21, 2012 

MANATEE -- The "King Fraser" cargo ship docked at Port Manatee Tuesday carrying 47,000 metric tons of corn destined to feed the animals of drought-stricken farmers in the Southeast.

The corn from Brazil will be unloaded and shipped by rail or truck to buyers in Florida, Georgia and the rest of the Southeast U.S., where feed crops are in short supply, according to Gregory F. Oberting, president and chief executive officer for Interstate Commodities Inc.

The corn comes from Sao Francisco, Brazil, and took about two weeks to arrive at Port Manatee, Oberting said.

It will take until Sunday to unload, according to Steve Tyndal, senior director of trade development and special projects for the port.

The load is the equivalent of 1.8 million bushels of corn or about 1,800 truckloads, said Cliff Arfman, vice president for Southeast Merchandising, a company affiliated with Interstate Commodities, Inc.

The cost of the corn works out to about $8.30 a bushel, he said.

Buyers include everyone from Fortune 500 companies down to ordinary farmers, said Arfman. The grain will go to feed chickens, dairy and other types of cattle, and other livestock, such as hogs and horses, he said.

Grain shipments also are going to ports at Wilmington, Del., Brunswick, Ga. and Mobile, Ala., according to Tyndal.

"On behalf of the Manatee County Port Authority, we sincerely appreciate the opportunity to support the efforts of ICI in these critical import shipments," wrote Carlos Buqueras, executive director of Port Manatee, in an e-mail message to Oberting.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.com.

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