Agricultural Transportation

U.S. Agricultural Transportation

The United States has invested in a transportation infrastructure — truck, barge and rail — that gives its agricultural producers a competitive advantage in transportation costs. The ability to export excess supply supports domestic grain and agricultural product prices, provides jobs and enhances the vitality of rural economies. In 2011, 68% of sorghum for export was transported throughout the U.S. by truck, while 21% was transported by rail and 11% by barge.

Kansas Terminals

Kansas is currently the largest producer of grain sorghum. Kansas serves as a major location for the transportation of sorghum in terms of terminals and rail. There is a direct linkage from the Kansas terminals to the port facilities. This allows for sorghum shuttles to be moved to meet the growing demand of exports. The following table provides the known Kansas terminal and shuttle loading infrastructure. Capacity is reported according to both state and federal grain storage licensing standards as provided by the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

Origin Company Capacity (Bushels)
Abilene, Wichita Gavilon Grain, LLC 35,200,00
Atchison Blair Mlg. & Elev. Co. Inc. 460,000
Atchison, Hutchison, Ogallah, Salina, Topeka, Wakeeney Cargill Inc. 114,106,000
Atchison, Kansas City, Wichita Bartlett Grain Company, L.P. 39,705,000
Colby Cornerstone Ag LLC 8,154,000
Concordia, Glen Elder AgMark LLC 41,705,000
Coolidge, Downs, Pratt, Salina, Wellington The Scoular Company 29,948,000
Dodge City Pride Ag Resources 20,024,000
Dodge City, Hutchinson, Kansas City, Plains, Salina ADM Grain Co. 80,307,000
Garden City Garden City Co-op 25,251,000
Garden City WindRiver Grain 8,190,000
Hanover Farmers Co-op 2,700,000
Haviland Farmers Co-op 5,254,000
Hugoton Santa Fe Trail Grain Terminal 1,987,000
Plains Plains Equity Exchange & Co-op 9,122,000
Sharon Springs CHS 10,372,000
Wright Right Co-op Association 6,127,000

Kansas Railroads

Kansas railroads total more than 4,500 miles and include BNSF Railway, Union Pacific, KYLE Railroad System, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad, Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad, Blue Rapids Railroad, Boothill and Western Railway, Cimarron Valley Railway, Garden City Western Railway, Kansas City Southern, Missouri and Northern Arkansas, Nebraska Kansas Colorado Railway, South Kansas and Oklahoma Railway, V&S Railway, New Century Aircenter Railroad, Wichita Terminal Association, Kansas City Terminal Railway and AMTRAK.

Texas Ports

Texas is the second-largest producer of grain sorghum and is vital to international exports due to its extensive port capacity. Texas has more than 1,000 miles of channel and 16 ports, including Beaumont, Brownsville, Calhoun Port Authority, Corpus Christi, Freeport, Galveston, Harlingen, Houston, Orange, Palacios, Port Arthur, Port Isabel, Port Mansfield, Texas City, Victoria and West Calhoun.

Texas Port Capacity
Brownsville 76,204 t, Corpus Christi 127,007 t, Galveston 76,204 t, Houston 157,488 t

Texas Railroads

The class-one railroads for Texas include the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Kansas City Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. The class-three railroads include South Orient Railroad, Texas-Mexican Railway, among others.

Delta Region Grain Origination and Exports

The Delta Region includes extensive resources, which provide the opportunity to grow, originate and ship grain sorghum downriver to ports in southern Louisiana for the export market. There are more than 14,500 miles of inland waterways, including four major rivers, which provide points of grain origination and access to move grain via barge.

Southern Louisiana Port

The Southern Louisiana Port region is one of the most highly connected to the nation’s port, railroad and highway infrastructure and extends 54 miles between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The port has the highest port volume shipping in the Western Hemisphere and the ninth highest volume in the world. Not only does the Southern Louisiana Port boast transporting the largest bulk cargo in the world, but it also exports 60% of all raw grains from the Midwest. The Southern Louisiana Port Region is home to 10 grain elevators, five of which export, including Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge North America, Cargill, CHS and Zen-Noh (CGB).

Southern Louisiana Port Shipping Lines

The port is served by more than 50 shipping lines, including Maersk, Trans Sea Transport, China Ocean Shipping Company, Daiichi-Chuo Shipping Line, Eastwind Transport, Hyundai Merchant Marine Inbound, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Mitsui Oaks Line, Pan Ocean Shipping Company and Yang Ming Line.

Delta Region Railroads

Class-one railroads for the region include the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway, Canadian National Railway, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. Shortline, terminal and switching railroads for the area are Acadiana Railway, Arkansas Louisiana and Mississippi Railway, Delta Southern Railroad, Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District, Louisiana and Delta Railroad, New Orleans and Gulf Coast Railway, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, Ouachita Railroad and Timberrock Railroad.