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By Michael Hirtzer
CHICAGO, April 19 (Reuters) - A shipment of Paraguayan corn was due to arrive next month at the U.S. port of Wilmington, North Carolina, a U.S. grains trader said on Wednesday.
The vessel Nord Bering was moored at the Brazilian port of Paranagua, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon data. It was scheduled to arrive in Wilmington by May 20, according to the port website.
The grain was shipped to Brazil from land-locked Paraguay before being loaded onto the U.S.-bound vessel, said the U.S. trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
If loaded to its 61,000 tonne capacity, the shipment would be the biggest-ever U.S. import of Paraguayan corn, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Paraguay last shipped a total of 37,654 tonnes of corn to the United States in 2015 following record shipments totaling 49,540 tonnes in 2013, USDA data showed.
U.S. corn stockpiles of 219 million tonnes (8.62 billion bushels) as of March 1 were record-large but some of that grain had elevated levels of vomitoxin, a plant toxin that can sicken animals if fed in large amounts.
“More important to get corn with no vomitoxin,” the U.S. trader said of the purchase from South America.
Smithfield Foods was the likely buyer, two other U.S. corn export traders said. Smithfield, the world’s largest pork producer, helped build the North Carolina port in 2002 and has its biggest meat packing plant in nearby Tar Heel.
The company declined to comment. (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Diane Craft)