Chinese ports are facing severe congestion with ships carrying as much as 700,000 tonnes of soyabeans waiting to discharge their cargo as a result of a purchase spree in recent months.

The situation was worst on China’s southeastern coast at Rizhao, where six or seven ships, carrying 400,000 tonnes of soyabeans, were waiting in vain to unload as the port’s warehouses were already chock-full, reported Reuters on 5 July.

At the end of June, there were up to 11 ships stuck at Rizhao and other ships were also waiting at ports elsewhere in China.

The soyabean stocks at Rizhao had reached a four-year high of 486,460 tonnes in the beginning of June, Reuters said, quoting data from the China National Grain and Oils Information Center (CNGOIC).

Weekly stocks of soya meal hit 1.2M tonnes during the same week, the highest level in six years, as demand failed to keep up with supply.

The congestion and long delays to clear customs could threaten the recently rallied Chinese soya meal prices and deter major exporters in Brazil and the USA, the report said.

In May, China imported a record of 9.59M tonnes of soyabeans and June imports reached approximately 9M tonnes as well.

On 1 July, China also lowered the VAT on soyabeans from 13% to 11%, which was putting additional pressure on the ports as some ships that had arrived at the end of June had chosen to wait instead of discharging right away to secure a better price on the beans, Reuters said.

The CNGOIC was expecting the congestion to continue for the time being, as 8.5-9M tonnes of soyabean were expected to be imported into China in July.