ABU DHABI/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two Russian wheat cargoes and one Argentine cargo destined for Egypt were rejected at their ports of origin on quality concerns, traders said on Tuesday.
The cargoes, purchased by state grain buyer GASC in recent tenders, were rejected by companies conducting inspections at the ports of origin, traders said.
Egypt, the world's largest buyer of wheat, rejected a series of shipments last year on concerns over the common grains fungus ergot before adopting more lax import rules in line with international norms.
The three rejections are the first since Egypt adopted a new streamlined inspection system this year in a bid to ease the concerns of traders that had shunned state tenders last year amid the ergot row, at one point effectively cutting Egypt off from global supplies of grain.
As part of the reform, Egypt discontinued the practice of sending government inspectors abroad, a practice seen as delaying shipments, but which some traders have described as a safeguard against rejections upon arrival.
Traders did not specify the nature of the quality concerns raised but said that the companies responsible for the cargoes are expected to replace the shipments, which total about 180,000 tonnes of wheat.
The two Russian shipments had set sail from the ports of Taman and Novorossisk before receiving a rejection notification and are now expected to turn back, traders said.
Shipping data indicates that a third vessel loaded with 63,000 tonnes of wheat from Bahia Blanca, Argentina, has re-routed toward Morocco.
GASC was not immediately available for comment.
Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz and Valerie Parent from Paris; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Jane Merriman and Louise Heavens