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Food is piling up in all the wrong places, thanks to carriers hauling empty shipping containers.

Global competition for the ribbed steel containers means that Thailand can’t ship its rice, Canada is stuck with peas and India can’t offload its mountain of sugar. Shipping empty boxes back to China has become so profitable that even some American soybean shippers are having to fight for containers to supply hungry Asian buyers. Strikes in Argentina have also boosted Asian demand for U.S. agriculture products, adding to competition for boxes.

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