FDA assembly places Biden’s plan to fight virus in danger

An important part of the president Joe BidenCovid-19’s plan to fight Covid-19 is in jeopardy as a Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee meets on Friday to debate and vote Pfizer and BioNTech‘s application to offer booster shots to the general public.

The vote by the Agency’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products – scheduled for about 2:30 p.m. ET – comes as some scientists, including at least two to the FDA, say they are not entirely convinced that every American who has received the Pfizer vaccine is currently in need of additional doses.

In documents released prior to the advisory committee meeting, FDA scientists have refused to take a stand on whether to support third shots, saying US regulators have not independently reviewed or verified all available data to support use of boosters. They also appeared to be skeptical of some of the data provided, including frequently quoted effectiveness figures from Israelwhere researchers have published observational studies showing that the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against infections has waned over time.

It sets the stage for a tense meeting on Friday as the Biden government has announced that it will offer booster injections to the public as early as next week pending FDA approval. The move is part of the administration wider plan to counter a higher number of Covid cases in the USA, which is fueled by the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

The country’s leading health authorities, including CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock and White House Senior Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, approved Biden’s booster plan back in August. While the FDA has not always followed its committee’s advice, it often does. The agency surprised investors and the public earlier this year when it abandoned the recommendation of its independent panel of external experts to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug.

If the committee doesn’t pass a positive vote, it could force the Biden administration to postpone its plan and potentially restrict third shots to certain groups of Americans, including disease, said Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center on National and International Global Health Law.

The FDA group could give Biden’s booster plan a “cool reception,” Gostin said. “While there is good evidence that vaccine immunity may decline, two doses of mRNA hold up robust by preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death.”

The vote puts the committee in an “uncomfortable position” as the government has already announced that it would start distributing boosters in the week of September 20, said Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of infectious diseases at Northwell Health.

“I’m sure they will disagree at all on what they said because we already know they are not unanimous,” he said.

Scientists and other health experts had already expressed their criticism Biden’s move to boost all Americans 16 and older when senior health officials outlined the plan last month. The scientists and other experts said the data cited by federal health officials are not compelling and characterize government pressure on boosters as premature.

In the outlines of the plans for launch Distribute booster next week, administrative officials cited three CDC studies showing that vaccines protection against Covid has waned over several months. The government’s plan is for people to receive or a third dose of Pfizer Modern Vaccination eight months after the second vaccination. Biden has since said that scientists are considering whether to postpone the third shot up by three months. US health officials said they needed more data Johnson & Johnsons Vaccine before they can recommend boosters of these shots.

Pfizer and Moderna each have theirs too own analyzes The incidence of breakthrough Covid cases – which occur in fully vaccinated people – was less common in clinical trial participants who were recently vaccinated, suggesting that the protection of Covid vaccines wears off over time. In separate documents released Wednesday, Pfizer said an observational study in Israel showed that a third dose of the Covid vaccine restored infection protection to 95% six months after a second shot.

Still, some scientists argue that booster vaccinations are not currently required for the general public.

A leading group of scientists published a paper Monday in the medical journal The Lancet, which said that available data shows that vaccination protection against serious illnesses remains in place even as efficacy against minor illness wears off over time. The authors, including two outgoing senior FDA officials and several World Health Organization scientists, said the widespread distribution of booster syringes to the general public is “not appropriate” at this time.

There is currently no consensus in the biomedical community on boosters for the general public, said Harvard Medical School immunologist Dan Barouch. “There are high-level experts who fall on different sides of the debate.”

Dr. Arturo Casadevall, Chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, supports boosters for the general public.

He said a third shot would boost immunity and reduce the chance of breakthrough infections, including the variant strains. “With all vaccines, immunity degrades over time, and Covid-19 vaccines are no different.”

Yale School of Medicine immunologist Akiko Iwasaki contradicts the widespread distribution of boosters in the United States.

Still, she said, booster shots are currently needed for some more vulnerable people as breakthrough cases lead to serious illness and hospitalizations.

These severe cases “mostly occur in older people and older adults such as 65 years of age and older,” she said. “I think it really makes sense now to give it to the seniors.”

‘F9’ places cost again into film theaters with $70M opening | Leisure

LOS ANGELES (AP) – As the strongest sign yet that life is left in theaters, “F9” accelerated to a box office hit of $ 70 million on the first weekend, the biggest opening for a movie since the beginning of the year, according to the studio Pandemic estimates Sunday.

The ninth part of the “Fast & Furious” series with franchise regulars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, opened in theaters only and had the widest release of any movie since the coronavirus crisis began.

The domestic grand total for “F9″ from Universal Pictures exceeded the previous pandemic record of $ 48.4 million for ” A quiet place part II ” four weeks ago. It was the biggest opening of a movie since “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in December 2019.

“We couldn’t be happier to see the audience hugging the ‘Fast’ family and coming out in huge numbers to see ‘F9’,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s sales director. “The debut this weekend really sparked the domestic box office and put it on a tremendous path for the rest of the year.”

“A Quiet Place Part II” took second place, a long way off, with $ 6.2 million. But it has now made $ 136.4 million since its release. “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” took third place for $ 4.88 million.

F9“, Whose release has been postponed several times, seems just the right weekend to open in North America, a loud, action-packed, immersive experience.

“It’s the perfect intersection between growing consumer confidence and vaccination in North America, with already-released movies creating momentum,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “I think you couldn’t have imagined a better scenario for the industry with a couple of speed bumps. “Furious 9” is really the first summer blockbuster in two years. “

“F9” made its international debut on May 19 and has since grossed more than 400 million US dollars worldwide.

Universal renounced the hybrid approach of combining theatrical and streaming releases, as Disney did earlier this year with “Cruella” and Warner Bros. with “Godzilla vs. Kong”.

It also came after most of the major theater chains eased capacity and masking restrictions significantly.

The trends suggest that Hollywood might have something resembling a regular Summer movie season, albeit one that starts months late and won’t break any industry records.

Releases in the coming weeks include Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow” and Warner Bros. ‘ “The suicide squad.” Studios use a variety of hybrid release plans. While the time movies spend between theaters and streaming has likely shrunk permanently, the big screen is increasingly coming to the fore.

“It is a delayed start to a summer that has been a long time coming. It’s unusual for the end of June to be supposed to be the beginning of summer, but it’s better late than never, ”Dergarabedian said. “There’s a big July 4th weekend ahead, with practically every genre covered, and a week later we have Black Widow. ‘So we are on the road to recovery. “

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. If available, the current international numbers for Friday to Sunday are also included.

1. “F9”, $ 70 million ($ 334.9 million internationally).

2. A Quiet Place, Part II, $ 6.2 million ($ 112.1 million internationally).

3. The Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard, $ 4.88 million ($ 14.5 million internationally).

4. “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” $ 4.85 million ($ 79 million internationally).

5. “Cruella,” $ 3.7 million ($ 112.5 million internationally).

6. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, $ 2.9 million ($ 101.5 million internationally).

7. “In The Heights,” $ 2.2 million ($ 5.9 million internationally).

8. “Untamed Spirit,” $ 591,917.

9. “12 Mighty Orphans,” $ 560,000.

10. “Nobody”, $ 229,000.


Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed in any way without permission.

Downtown Revitalization Staff places concentrate on infrastructure, leisure in ultimate plan

As COVID-19 restrictions expire this month and companies try to get customers through their doors, city guides keep pushing to revitalize the downtown area. Over the past few months, Mayor Greg Fischer and other city guides have been focusing on how to revive an area of ​​Louisville that was not only badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but closed because it fell after the deadly shootings Breonna Taylor the site of the ongoing social justice movement, companies were slowly reopening and increasing capacity, Fischer formed the Downtown Revitalization Team to come up with ideas to bring business back downtown. The team presented its final report on Tuesday. The group made recommendations totaling more than $ 13 million before improving public infrastructure, safety, environmental efforts and equity. Executives said the goal is to make the area better than it was before, so here are some of the action items: hiring new ambassadors for the Business Improvement District, improving the RiverWalk from 3rd Street to 7th Street, hosting free open air concerts with the Louisville OrchestraPlan events in the downtown area, including the Whiskey Alley event series, The Black Out: Arts Festival on the Belvedere and Broadway Under the StarsReplace street lightsDevelop a main calendar and mobile application highlighting businesses, events and notable destinations in the downtown area Due to the success of the Plan, efforts are divided into completion windows that are spread over 30, 60, 90, and 120 days. Click here to learn more about the Revitalization Plan Budget and Federal Aid Dollars at Hand. Some of the actions outlined in the plan will be dependent on either budgetary funds or economic funds. The team of more than 100 plans to continue working with the city to prioritize and implement their recommendations once funding is secured.

As COVID-19 restrictions expire this month and companies try to get customers through their doors, city guides continue to scramble to revitalize downtown.

Over the past few months, Mayor Greg Fischer and other city leaders have focused on revitalizing an area of ​​Louisville that has not only been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but has also been closed for being the site of ongoing social events following the Justice Movement fatal shootout at Breonna Taylor.

Fast forward to spring, and with stores reopening slowly and capacity increasing, Fischer formed the Downtown Revitalization Team to come up with ideas to bring the business back downtown.

The team presented its final report on Tuesday.

The group has made more than $ 13 million in recommendations to improve public infrastructure, safety, environmental efforts and equity. The guides said the goal was to make the area better than it was before.

Here are some of the action items:

  • Hiring of new ambassadors for the Business Improvement District
  • Improvement of the RiverWalk from 3rd Street to 7th Street
  • Host free outdoor concerts with the Louisville Orchestra
  • Plan for events downtown, including the Whiskey Alley series of events, The Black Out: Arts Festival on the Belvedere, and Broadway Under the Stars
  • Replace street lights
  • Developed a main calendar and mobile application highlighting businesses, events and notable destinations in the city center
  • Growing marketing efforts around the “Downtown Strong” and “Lou Needs You” campaigns

To ensure the success of the plan, efforts are broken down into completion windows that are spread over 30, 60, 90, and 120 days.

Click here to learn more about the revitalization plan

Fischer said he was optimistic about the path for the city given the state of the budget and federal aid available. Some of the actions outlined in the plan will be dependent on either budget funding or economic funds.

The team of more than 100 plans to continue working with the city to prioritize and implement their recommendations once funding is secured.

30 years on, Myanmar disaster places Asian-style democracy to check

BANGKOK – The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met in Jakarta on April 24 to discuss the aftermath of the coup in Myanmar. After the meeting, Brunei gave one Declaration by the chairmanThe heads of state and government had reached a “consensus” on issues such as the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar, the dispatch of the ASEAN chairman’s special envoy and the start of a constructive dialogue between all concerned in order to find a peaceful solution in the interests of the people .

The meeting of heads of state and government was exceptional in every way.

ASEAN has a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other members. This was the first time the group had called a meeting of leaders on an internal issue in a member state. It was also the first to be held in a country other than the Chairman’s. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the block has held online sessions that take place almost 1,000 times a year. This was the first face-to-face ministerial meeting since the Foreign Ministers’ meeting with China in Laos last February.

It was also surprising that Myanmar’s junta leader Min Aung Hlaing was present. It is believed that he was present as the head of the State Administrative Council, the official name of the junta that took power after the February 1 coup, rather than as the Colonel General of the Myanmar military. But during the previous military rule, the prime minister attended the summits, not Than Shwe, the then chairman of the state peace and development council. If normal diplomatic protocol had been followed this time, it would have been appropriate for Myanmar to send former Vice President Myint Swe, who was appointed incumbent president by the junta.

The decision to invite Min Aung Hlaing drew the ire of critics, who said the move was to give the junta tacit approval. However, ASEAN called the latest Konfab a “meeting of heads of state and government” rather than a summit, to indicate that, according to diplomatic sources, Min Aung Hlaing is not recognized as the head of state of Myanmar.

Mynmar’s junta head Major General Min Aung Hlaing (left) gestures as he is greeted at Soekarno Hatta International Airport on the outskirts of Jakarta on April 24. © Reuters

The unusual gathering was held to urge Myanmar’s military chief to end the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters that has killed more than 750 civilians, according to the Political Prisoners Support Group, an advocacy group. ASEAN came under heavy pressure from the international community during the meeting and the discussions must have been heated, unlike the usual carefully choreographed ASEAN summits.

Following the coup, Indonesia hosted an online meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on March 2. Members appealed to Wunna Maung Lwin, Myanmar’s foreign minister appointed by the junta, to exercise restraint, but the junta’s action escalated instead.

Then Indonesia moved again. On March 19, President Joko Widodo Brunei called on Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah to convene a meeting of heads of state and government, and Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong spoke out quickly. The meeting would not have taken place without the support of these three countries.

Indonesia’s activism is believed to have been driven by the situation in Myanmar when the ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting was held in March, and this may also have been the case at the most recent meeting. Just before a conference call with Sultan Bolkiah, Jokowi posted a video on YouTube saying he would propose a meeting of heads of state and government in Brunei. The message was that the Indonesian President wanted to play a leading role in solving the Myanmar crisis.

Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has been a concern of Indonesians, 90% of whom are Muslim. “As a leader with excellent political balance, Jokowi found it beneficial to get involved in Myanmar, given the state of national public opinion and Indonesia’s status as the leader of ASEAN,” said Takashi Shiraishi, Chancellor of Kumamoto Prefectural University.

Malaysia, where Islam is the official religion, and Singapore, which emphasizes multiracial unity and has the greatest economic interest in Myanmar, had similar political interests in containing the unrest in Myanmar.

These three countries were active in Myanmar for 10 years until Myanmar joined ASEAN in 1997 and their attitudes towards the country remained unchanged.

Europe and the US have in the past strongly condemned Myanmar’s former junta, which in 1988 house arrest the leader of democracy and later the de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, after smashing demonstrations for democracy. The junta also ignored the Suu Kyi camp’s landslide victory in the 1990 parliamentary elections. But the three ASEAN members defended Myanmar, among others.

The trio was facing its own challenges at the time. They passed “development dictatorships” in which economic growth took precedence over political freedom. And they advocated an “Asian style democracy” in which social stability is more in the foreground than individual freedom. As related governments, they wanted to help Myanmar fend off criticism of censorship and actions against democratic opponents.

However, the three also had “constructive engagement” and urged the junta to free Suu Kyi from her first house arrest in 1995, when talks with Myanmar about ASEAN membership were in their final stages.

This time the three nations sought concessions in Myanmar rather than defending it, probably because of changes in their homeland. Indonesia became democratic in Asia after the financial crisis and Suharto’s authoritarian regime collapsed in 1998. Malaysia saw its first democratic change of government in 2018, while Singapore, which has been led by the ruling People’s Action Party since its independence, has grown in opposition, a political force in recent years.

The leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations will meet on April 24 in the organization’s secretariat building in Jakarta. © Reuters

The shift in attitudes towards the junta in Myanmar reflects the progress made towards democratization in the three countries that have become more sensitive to public opinion.

However, the opposite trend can be observed in Thailand and the Philippines, where only foreign ministers were sent to the last meeting. The Philippines and Thailand, which became democratic in 1986 and 1988, respectively, took a cool stance on Myanmar’s junta at the time. However, both countries are reluctant to take a stand that Myanmar itself is ruled by strong men.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the 2014 coup that brought him to power, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose extrajudicial killings of alleged drug crimes are under pressure in Europe and the US

It looks like the ASEAN leaders’ meeting could win some concessions from Myanmar’s junta, but it remains unclear whether the generals will keep their word. The Singapore Prime Minister said Myanmar had not refused to send a special envoy, but Min Aung Hlaing may have rejected rather than accepted the proposal. It is also unclear when and how the junta will implement the agreement.

If Myanmar doesn’t stop the end of the deal and ASEAN doesn’t do anything about it, trust in ASEAN at home and abroad could decline. In the 1990s, the prospect of ASEAN admission was a negotiating chip the group held to persuade the previous junta to moderate its behavior. Is the group really ready to consider expelling Myanmar this time? The recent extraordinary meeting could shed some light on whether ASEAN is ready to take this momentous step.

The brand new European Tremendous League places cash over truthful play

Breaking news shook the European football world on Sunday April 18 when the boards of 12 prestigious clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – announced they are forming a breakaway European Super League (ESL).

The new league, led by Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez, was intended to be an alternative to the Champions League (UCL) of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), which would generate almost three times as much money for the clubs as the UCL. The participating clubs should initially receive 3.5 billion euros, with the league winner earning around 400 million euros. This is between three and four times the current UCL winner’s prize pool.

The competition should include around 20 clubs. The 12 founding clubs (plus three other founding clubs) would compete without restriction each year, regardless of poor performance in their respective national leagues. Every year five more clubs are invited to take part in the competition, which are selected based on their national successes in the preseason.

Why is it a bad idea

The announcement immediately sparked outrage across Europe and the world. Fans, commentators, heads of government, national leagues, players and managers (including the 12 clubs) spoke out against the project. UEFA and FIFA threatened to ban ESL players from participating in the upcoming European and World Cup.

Criticism was particularly widespread in England, the homeland of football, which has highly competitive leagues within its rugged football pyramid. Both the royal family and the UK Prime Minister condemned the project. Fans of the six English Premier League participating teams as well as fans of other English clubs protested and marched through the streets of their cities and in front of their football clubs.

Their goal was to show their disdain for a Super League that is far from great.

The proposed system contradicts everything that football is supposed to stand for: meritocracy, mobility and humility. The emotions and passion created through qualification, promotion, regulation and the like cannot be bought, but the proposed ESL is a system that eliminates all of these. The qualification basis for 75% of the teams is simply money.

There is no hope for smaller clubs that want to become giants or play with giants. The proposed league eliminates the basics of accomplishments like winning the Premier League by non-favorites (like Leicester City in 2016) or the legitimate battle for a top 4 UCL spot (like West Ham United this year).

Furthermore, the announcement of a billion dollar project is truly insensitive in the midst of a global pandemic where most people are struggling financially. The timing was strategic, however, as the ESL wanted to drive the curve and announce the league ahead of UEFA’s changes to the UCL model.

The project was motivated by greed and a thirst for power. UCL and UEFA in the broader sense certainly have their own problems – big ones – but an elitist and exclusive Super League that does away with the fundamental football principle of merit does not eliminate problems. rather, it strengthens them.

What’s next?

As of April 21, all six English Premier League clubs as well as Atlético Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan have initiated proceedings to withdraw from the ESL. With only Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus left, the Super League was suspended less than 72 hours after its conception. The stop demonstrates the power of the football fans’ voices, as well as their commitment to a system that rewards effort and results, not just prosperity – one that inspires grassroots football around the world and promotes mobility across leagues and divisions.

Whether the 12 clubs listed above will be punished for their actions remains to be seen, but the ESL will certainly have to permanently disband even if the remaining three clubs refuse to withdraw. In the eyes of football fans around the world, this would be a win.

The Stockout: Cargill places its cash the place its beans are

Cargill’s announcement last week that it would make an investment of nearly half a billion dollars in soybeans caught my attention as it suggested that one of the world’s largest food producers believes soybeans are ready for sustainable growth and the recent rise in prices and the rise in production are not just the result of passing trends. I realize that growing food segments like soy-based dairy alternatives and vegetable meat alternatives, are viewed as sustainable megatrends by many large food and beverage companies and their investors. If you add huge demand from China and India in the short term, you have a soybean market that is off the charts.

For many CPG companies, this is related to the problem that will make or break for many in 2021: whether they can successfully pass on cost inflation (in ingredients, animal feed, fuel, packaging, transportation, etc.) with price increases.

Cargill’s investment underscores soybean production as a growth area. Last week, Cargill announced it would invest $ 475 million to improve its soy processing capabilities. The investment spans seven states and includes upgrading facilities, expanding shredding operations, accelerating loading and unloading times, increasing capacity and improving logistics. The investments are designed to increase the company’s soybean production capacity and provide customers with faster access to soybean-based ingredients. Cargill invests in both food and fuel (soy biodiesel) and to meet growing domestic and international demand.

Soybean prices are at their highest level since mid-2014

(Image: Markets Insider)

Soybean prices have increased largely due to overseas demand. Soybean prices are over US $ 14 / bushel, down from less than US $ 10 / bushel at the beginning of 2020 and their highest level since mid-2014. After the African swine fever debacle that decimated the Chinese pig population and the As the number of Chinese pigs decreased by about 40% in 2019, great efforts are still being made in China to replenish the pig population. In order to replenish the pig population, feed rations must be made that contain corn and soybean meal. As a result, China is expected to buy 104 million tons of soybeans this year, and total U.S. soybean exports are expected to grow 34% in the current crop year 2020-21 compared to crop year 2019-20, according to the USDA. This is due to a period of weak US soybean exports to China in 2019 / 1H20 related to the trade war. When China started buying US soybeans in bulk last year, soybean yields were below expectations, which drove up prices. Soybean stocks have been limited since then, starting the 2020-21 crop year 42% below the previous year’s level.

The resurgence of African swine fever in China is adding to uncertainty about the outlook for soybeans. There have been reports of this return where the sow has fallen 3 to 5% every month since September. The strong resurgence could cause soybean prices and US exports to fall as the Chinese feed a smaller pig population and soybean meal prices, which have fallen since late last year, could be a leading indicator of soybean prices.

However, there is no consensus on what impact African swine fever will have. At a recent investor conference, Archer-Daniels-Midland expressed doubts about a full return of African swine fever to the extent previously observed, citing improved sanitation on farms. The company also described the increased demand for grain from China as a “medium-term phenomenon” and believes that feed prices for soybeans and corn will continue to rise in the near future.

Soybeans ⸺ hectares planted / harvested ↑, stocks ↓, exports ↑

(USDA March WASDE report)

High soybean prices are affecting other US crops. US corn exports are expected to be 46% higher year over year. Soybeans are more profitable to farmers than corn, especially at recent prices, which has resulted in farmers increasing their soybean acreage by about 7 million acres, or 9%, year over year. Maize competes for the same acreage, which is why less acreage is available for maize production. The USDA expects corn to gain a slightly more modest 4% year-on-year in crop year 2020-21. It is also likely that soybean acreage will again expand significantly this summer. As a result, corn prices have also risen sharply, increasing nearly 50% in the past 12 months. Rising crop prices have also been seen in other crops like canola, and rising ingredient prices have led most CPG companies to say they expect cost increases in at least the low single digits, which I think may be underestimating how high their costs are can actually go up.

Canadian Class I Railways set new monthly records for grain wagon loads.

(Source: SONAR; Grain wagon loads sourced from Canadian Class I railways for 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018 are shown above in blue, green, purple, and orange, respectively.)

Meanwhile, tight transportation markets have made it difficult for soybeans to get to market. Grain produced for export in the US and Canada is typically transported by rail or barge, but a significant portion (5% -7% of US soybean exports) is transported in international shipping containers that are returned to west coast ports. The recent tightness in the international container market has prompted the container shipping companies that own or lease the international containers to do so demand that these containers return quickly without being reloaded with grain On the backhaul routes, this has never been an important profit center for the shipping companies.

The number of empty international containers (mostly 40 feet) returning empty to the ports of LA and Long Beach has increased steadily over the past year.

(Source: SONAR; volume of 40-foot empty containers entering the LA region using a seven-day moving average)

Meanwhile, competition from Brazilian soybean exporters is increasing. The USDA estimates that Brazil exports corn and soybeans could hit record highs, which could put pressure on sea freight rates for bulk cargo. However, soybeans leaving Brazil have a natural disadvantage as shipments leaving Brazil take 45 days to reach ports in China, while shipments leaving the U.S. or Canadian Pacific coast are closer to two to three weeks .

Do you think rising ingredient prices will hurt CPG companies’ results? Let me know mbaudendistel@freightwaves.com.

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