Executive Briefings

'Chokepoints' Threaten Global Food Supply, Report Says

International trade routes are increasingly reliant on a small number of key ports, straits and roads that if disrupted will threaten global food supply, according to a report.

The report, by British think-tank Chatham House, found that disruptions caused by weather, conflict or politics at one of the so-called "chokepoints" could limit food supplies and push prices up.

Chokepoints are defined locations though which exceptional amounts of the global food trade pass.

The Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in Global Food Trade report identified 14 critical locations, including the Suez Canal, Black Sea ports and Brazil’s road network.

Laura Wellesley, co-author of the report, said difficulties at any of these critical points could compound already fragile supply chains.

“We are talking about a huge share of global supply that could be delayed or stopped for a significant period of time,” she said.

“A serious interruption at one or more of these chokepoints could conceivably lead to supply shortfalls and price spikes, with systemic consequences that could reach beyond food markets.”

More than half of the globe’s staple crop exports — wheat, maize, rice and soybean — have to travel along inland routes to a small number of key ports in the US, Brazil and the Black Sea, while more than half of these crops transit through at least one of the maritime chokepoints identified.

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The report, by British think-tank Chatham House, found that disruptions caused by weather, conflict or politics at one of the so-called "chokepoints" could limit food supplies and push prices up.

Chokepoints are defined locations though which exceptional amounts of the global food trade pass.

The Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in Global Food Trade report identified 14 critical locations, including the Suez Canal, Black Sea ports and Brazil’s road network.

Laura Wellesley, co-author of the report, said difficulties at any of these critical points could compound already fragile supply chains.

“We are talking about a huge share of global supply that could be delayed or stopped for a significant period of time,” she said.

“A serious interruption at one or more of these chokepoints could conceivably lead to supply shortfalls and price spikes, with systemic consequences that could reach beyond food markets.”

More than half of the globe’s staple crop exports — wheat, maize, rice and soybean — have to travel along inland routes to a small number of key ports in the US, Brazil and the Black Sea, while more than half of these crops transit through at least one of the maritime chokepoints identified.

Read Full Article