Regions Hampton Roads

Perdue expands soybean export agreement with Chinese port operator.

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Perdue Agribusiness has signed an agreement with a Chinese port operator to ship more soybeans through its marine terminal in Chesapeake.

Perdue Agribusiness and China’s Dandong Port Group Company signed a memorandum of understanding in April during Gov. Bob McDonnell’s trade mission to Asia. The Dandong Port Group operates ports and other infrastructure in Asia, including the Port of Dandong in Northern China.

Under the agreement, Dandong could purchase up to 14 Panamax vessels of soybeans from the 2013 crop that will be ready to ship beginning in October – worth more than $450 million by recent soybean prices.

Dandong purchased five vessels of the 2011 crop under the orginal agreement reached in September 2011 and another 10 vessels from the 2012 crop under and expanded agreement signed in May 2012.

All of the soybeans covered by the agreement will be shipped through Perdue’s Chesapeake terminal, according to a Perdue spokeswoman.

“When my team and I introduced Perdue and Dandong to each other in 2011, I knew their relationship had the potential to make China the Commonwealth’s top agricultural export customer,” McDonnell said in a statement. “That prediction came true last year and, largely due to the Perdue-Dandong relationship, our global agricultural exports reached an all-time high.”

In 2012, China was the leading market for Virginia’s agricultural products, buying about $638 million in farm and forest products from Virginia. In 2009, China purchased $170 million in agricultural products.

The new agreement will help Dandong meet rising demand for soybeans in China. Dandong is scheduled to open a soybean crushing facility later this year, more than doubling its previous soybean processing capacity.

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