A cargo ship stuck at sea is finally docking at a Chinese port. The “Peak Pegasus” has been sailing near the coast for over a month trying to dodge Chinese tariffs on imported, American soybeans. The ship missed a deadline to avoid the 25-percent tariff on the imported good by just a few hours.
CGTN’s Xu Xinchen filed this report from the port in Dalian City, in northeastern China.
The Peak Pegasus cargo ship departed from the U.S. in June, loaded with 70,000 tons of U.S. soybeans. It finally arrived in the city of Dailan after circling off the Chinese coast for over a month.
The Peak Pegasus docked around midnight on Sunday, and the ship started to offload around 3 a.m local time. However, the entire offload process is expected to last six days.
The ship reached a port in Dalian on July 6th, after China imposed 25-percent tariffs on U.S. soybeans in retaliation to Trump’s first round of tariffs on $34 billion-worth of Chinese goods.
Chinese soybean purchaser Sinograin is expected to pay about six million dollars in U.S. taxes. The firm also needs to pay additional fees to keep the vessel in the water as it waits to dock.
“When our ship reached the port, there was congestion due to an increase in the number of soybean ships coming in,” said Chen Xuecong, Deputy General Manager of the Sinograin Oils Corporation. “Our ship was unable to dock. We will pay off the tariffs according to new policies.”
Chen said companies tried to stash soybean imports from countries like Brazil and Argentina, as soybeans from South American countries are now in season. The move is seen to help ease storage in the fourth quarter, a season usually dominated by U.S. soybeans.
Some 30 million tons of U.S. soybeans were expected to arrive in China this year, but Chinese buyers halted their orders after Beijing’s 25-percent additional tariff.
“There’s definitely pressure, but we are confident that we can deal with the pressure. In the past few months, we’ve seen an escalation of the trade war, started by the U.S.,” Chen explained. “To deal with that, we are actively adapting in terms of importing soybeans from regions other than the U.S.”
However, there are still logistical challenges getting soybean shipments from other countries. In the meantime, American soybean farmers have been hit hard with Chinese orders decreasing. U.S. soybean prices also plunged on Friday to more than 4.5-percent, marking the worst day since July lows.