The world’s agribusiness ABCDs – Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus – are no longer the major market players in Brazilian oilseed and grain export, according to Reuters, which analysed 10 years of shipping data from Williams Shipping Agency.

In 2003, the ABCDs accounted for 57% of all oilseed and grain purchases from Brazil, with Asia accounting for 9%.

However, in 2015, Asian traders including China’s COFCO, bought 45% of Brazilian soyabeans, meal and corn, with the ABCD traders accounting for a 37% share.

This was a turnaround from 2014, when the ABCDs bought 46% of Brazil’s grain exports, compared to 36% by Asian traders.

Increased population growth in China and other parts of Asia were fuelling the change as Asian traders seek to buy supplies directly from Brazil, rather than through middlemen.

Reuters said that this year, while the ABCDs showed flat growth, Asian traders including Japan’s Itochu, Agrex/Mitsubishi and Mitusi; China’s China Agri, Noble Agri and Nideria (all controlled by state-owned COFCO); South Korea’s CJ Group and Singapore-based Wilmar International were expanding their share of export purchases at a much faster rate.

This had led them to invest in infrastructure including ports and terminals to boost transport and handling efficiencies, as well as boosting their trading skills, the report said.

Japan’s Marubeni, for example, was the second largest buyer of Brazil’s grains and oilseeds after Bunge, and conducted a large part of its purchases through a maritime terminal in São Francisco do Sul in southern Brazil, which it acquired in 2011. Itochu also boosted its grain purchases 10-fold last year after forming a joint venture with local grain company Naturalle in 2014.