PCG EMAIL SERVICES: LUBBOCKONLINE.COM - Flow meeting: Smoother transport necessary for cotton export market

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Mon Sep 14 11:27:39 CDT 2015

LUBBOCKONLINE.COM - Flow meeting: Smoother transport necessary for cotton export market
Texas Cotton Association's annual flow meeting describes challenges moving cotton


Posted: September 12, 2015 - 12:11am

Ricky Clarke looked seemingly everywhere for a 100 percent cotton shirt.

After trips to about a half-dozen stores, the Cargill Cotton vice president eventually settled for one he found with 95 percent cotton.

The search indicated a problem.

"We have to demand cotton products," he told a large crowd of fellow cotton representatives Friday morning.

Clarke and other speakers at Texas Cotton Association's annual flow meeting listed competition from polyester as just one concern for the industry. 

More competition comes from other cotton-producing countries such as India. Weakened currency rates, Chinese regulation changes for cotton bale packaging and a Turkish anti-dumping suit could also mean trouble, he said.

That means now, creating happy global purchasers is crucial.

"Delays will be unacceptable to our overseas customers," Clarke said.

"Flow" in the meeting title refers to cotton's movement - the pretty white plants don't effortlessly turn into blue jeans or T-shirts.
Speakers generally agreed the process of moving cotton from field to mill holds some room for improvement. Some suggested better communication and quicker transport as ways to improve the crop's export market.

Tommy Clodfelter recalled the frustration he feels each time an unprepared truck driver arrives at the Oasis Warehouse he manages in Seminole. Too often, he said, drivers don't know the specifics of the order they've been sent to retrieve, and staff have to stop the other job they're in the middle of and scramble for answers.

"They have no idea what they're picking up. This happens three or four times a day," Clodfelter said.

The process could go smoother with more advance communication, he said.

"Make sure the loads are ready, so when he comes into the warehouse he knows what he's picking up," he said. 

Other market challenges include truck driver shortages, travel restrictions and overregulation, other speakers said.

Good news, though, comes from the next anticipated harvest.

"It's the best year for rainfall we've had for many years, and we're set for a great crop," said Steve Verett, executive vice president of Plains Cotton Growers. "...I'm not willing to say absolutely for certain we'll make 4 million bales, but the chances are very good."

josephine.musico at lubbockonline.com 766-8796
Follow Josie on Twitter @josiemusico

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