Tapioca

Tapioca is another prolific tropical plant, although for seaborne purposes, by far the largest exporter is Thailand; exports being through the port of Bangkok (to 26 feet fresh depth of water) or, more frequently given the size of vessels engaged in this trade, via Kohsichang, downriver of Bangkok, where large ships can load. Thailand ranks only seventh in terms of world production but, from an exporting point of view, has 80 percent of the market, much of its exports destined for EEC animal feed purposes. With constant worldwide pressure to reduce or eliminate altogether grants and subsidies to farmers, this trade may change dramatically, but whilst the EEC is geared to maintaining grain prices at high levels to protect domestic producers, it will remain economically attractive for European animal feed compounders to substitute cheap imports of protein and energy feedstock such as tapioca for eventual food for pigs and cattle, rather than use the more expensive locally grown grain. Whereas large vessels – commonly panamax or capesize bulkcarriers – are used for the transportation of tapioca from Thailand to the EEC, other nations in the area – e.g. Malaysia and Indonesia – commonly use handy-sized bulkcarriers of around 20/40,000 dwt. to carry a variety of agricultural products in each shipment (usually separated “naturally” hold by hold) for such as copra derivatives, tapioca, etc) the reasons being twofold. First, the shore-based industry is not so mechanised as in Thailand and, secondly, the ports are not so deep-drafted and well-equipped with loading equipment as is Kohsichang. In fact, a vessel engaged in the carriage of “agri-prods” from Indonesia may need to load at several ports to obtain a full cargo. This is the name given generally to any wood derived product. Just like the other trades, forest products can be divided into those appertaining to raw materials and processed goods.