Ships waiting to load soybeans in Brazil are experiencing slight congestion at ports due to bad weather, but delays are minor compared with peak harvest time last year, port sources said last week.

Loading delays in Brazil have been cited as a factor behind higher Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures prices last week. There have been reports of delays extending for 14-16 days and talk that some cargoes might be switched from Brazil to the U.S.

But sources at the main ports handling soy cargoes in Brazil told Reuters News Service that waits for ships were much shorter, at up to 10 days instead of the usual one week. By comparison, last year shippers faced waits of up to 30 days due to congestion at the harvest's peak.

Luiz Teixeira, the director of operations at Paranagua, the No. 2 port for soy, told Reuters poor weather had slowed loading. The port's grain elevators are not covered.

"We had a lot of rain here in Parana (state) and, when it's raining, you can't load. But in general things are fairly normal. There isn't much of a delay," he said. There were 24 ships waiting to load soy, corn and soy meal at the port on Tuesday.

Teixeira said larger capacity ships that can hold 60,000 metric tons or more of the grain were being used more frequently this year and helping to avoid the delays seen last year.

At Santos, Brazil's largest port and the one that handles the most soy, an employee at a multinational trading house and the port's spokesman both said operations were proceeding smoothly without notable delays.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.