A vessel is due to call at French Atlantic ports from next week to load about 60,000 tons of soft wheat for Saudi Arabia, shipping sources said, marking the first time a large volume of French wheat will be exported to the Middle Eastern country.
The Shekou Sea panamaxbulkcarrier is scheduled to call at the ports of Nantes and Montoir to load an estimated 59,000 to 63,000 tons of wheat, the sources said.
The cargo would be the biggest known French wheat export to the country, after a small shipment of 7,000 tons in the 1999/2000 season, according to customs data. It follows a move by the Saudi state buyer this year to start purchasing soft wheat in addition to the hard wheat varieties it usually takes.
Traders said the French export loading was related to a purchase of soft wheat by Saudi Arabia’s state buyer in June.
Saudi Arabia’s Grains and Silos Flour Management Organisation (GSFMO) said it started tenders for soft wheat, a category in which French wheat falls, in response to growing demand for biscuits and other sweet foods.
French exporters have also been trying to persuade Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern importers, which typically source higher protein and gluten hard wheat, that soft wheat can be adapted to their bread.
Iraq recently agreed to test a cargo of French wheat after an Iraqi delegation visited France. (Reuters)