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SAO PAULO: Brazil is on track to sell the largest volume of soybeans to the United States since 2014, according to shipping data from maritime agent Cargonave, as the nation helps Americans fill a momentary supply gap.

Increased shipments to the United States show that tight supplies and high prices are forcing soybean users like oilseed crushers and meat producers to change their suppliers to keep operations running.

A total of 238,000 tonnes of Brazil soybeans have been shipped to the United States or will set sail soon, according to shipping data and a source.

That includes at least five vessels that will carry 175,000 tonnes to the United States over the coming days from the ports of Barcarena, Itacoatiara and Belém, Cargonave data showed.

Every year, Brazil, the world’s top soy exporter, sells only a few kilos of soybeans to the United States, itself a large producer and exporter. The most recent exception was in 2014, when Brazilians exported a record 1 million tonnes to the United States.

This year, though, US supplies dropped to historic lows on strong domestic demand and exports to China. US soybean futures on Tuesday hit their highest prices since 2012.

Tight US supplies may lead to more shipments of Brazil’s soy to the United States, according to market sources. The US soy crop will start to be harvested in September.

US-based Bunge Ltd, Glencore’s Viterra, Louis Dreyfus Co and US-based meat processor Perdue Farms are shipping soy to the United States from Brazil, according to shipping data.

Perdue chartered three vessels, including one that departed on May 9, the data showed. Privately held Perdue said it cannot publicly discuss its strategy but confirmed it chartered the three vessels.

A Cargill Inc vessel is expected to carry about 30,000 tonnes of Brazilian soy to the United States from the port of Ilhéus in the coming days, according to a source.

Glencore and Bunge declined to comment. Louis Dreyfus and Cargill did not have an immediate comment.

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