Exporting soybeans in shipping containers is an emerging, alternative transportation channel for Illinois soybeans to reach foreign markets. The majority of containerized U.S. soybeans, about 66%, originate in Illinois.

Many packaged goods and raw materials imported from Asia and elsewhere around the world are shipped to the U.S. in intermodal containers, which can be carried by ship, train and truck without having to open the container.

In the past, thousands of containers returned to Asian ports of origin empty. However, shipping companies are recognizing the value of filling these empty containers with Illinois soybeans instead of sending them back empty. This approach provides a more efficient, environmentally friendly and profitable option for both the shipper and the customer. Illinois currently has 14 grain and soybean transloading facilities.

Additional Container Tools, Resources and Studies

Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report

This report provides “a weekly snapshot of the availability of marine shipping containers at 18 different intermodal locations for the westbound transpacific trade lanes.

Containerized Shipping: Opportunities for Soy Products

This report explains containerized shipping through illustrations, facts and commentary by the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Capitalizing on Containers

This report explains shines some light on the business of containerized exports of Illinois agricultural products – particularly corn, soybeans and distillers dried grains.

Honda Quality Soybeans

This report explains describes how Honda embraced and subsequently benefitted from the idea of containerized shipping.

Are you a Soybean Farmer?

Find out how your operation could be impacted by an aging infrastructure and what you can do to help. Visit VoiceforSoy.org.