An $84 million load of U.S. soft red wheat intended for the Egyptian market was rejected this week when insects "alien to the country" were found in the cargo, according to wire reports. Insects in the load, some alive and some dead, caused the shipment to be rejected at the port of Damietta.
A Dow Jones report notes that inspection of the cargo also found the presence of a "poisonous grass."
The grain had already been sold to the General Authority for Supply Commodities, and local traders say the quality of that grain is the responsibility of the company that loaded it in the United States for shipment to Egypt. GASC did say this bad wheat cargo won't affect future U.S.-origin wheat purchases.
Egypt uses about 12 million tons of wheat a year, with imports accounting for about one-half. GASC is responsible for most of Egypt's imports and the U.S. is usually the largest exporter of what to Egypt, but is facing stiffer competition from France, Russia and Kazakhstan. This added competition has eaten into the U.S. market share of the Egyptian wheat market.