Oil Traffic may Delay US Fertilizer Shipments

WorldEnergyNews.com
Monday, April 14, 2014
South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch

Increasing use of railroads to ship crude oil could disrupt fertilizer cargo this spring as Midwest farmers prepare for planting, U.S. agriculture leaders warn, even as one railroad said on Monday it will take steps to ensure timely deliveries.

The planting season is nearly at hand in states such as the Dakotas and Minnesota, where soybean, wheat and corn growers will lay millions of tonnes of fertilizers like nitrogen and potash that mostly arrive by train.

Those supplies are not stockpiled near the fields and the farmers rely instead on steady deliveries by rail.

"Since we don't store fertilizer, the next very few weeks are incredibly important for South Dakota farmers," said state Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch.

But fertilizer cargo is being waylaid as railroads are clogged by trains carrying crude and other freight and that could ultimately jeopardize the fall crop, farmers have warned lawmakers and other officials.

"If rails are too congested for fertilizer in the weeks ahead, the problem will solve itself because there won't be anything to harvest in the fall," said Dave Andresen of Full Circle Ag, a farm services company in South Dakota.

BNSF Railway Co said on Monday it had assigned more locomotives and train crews to expedite fertilizer deliveries so nutrients can arrive at delivery points on time.

"We understand the shortness of the season and the necessity of timely delivery," the rail operator said in a notice to farm customers.

CHS Inc, a top farm supplier in the Upper Midwest, expects to help meet near-term demand for nutrients but is concerned supplies could dwindle a little later in the growing season.

"In the early weeks of planting, farmers need a recharge and the fertilizer sheds need to be stocked up before then," said Jeff Greseth, the company's head of crop nutrition.

Supply lines have been snarled in part by clearing grain bins of the remainder of last year's crop and recovering from harsh winter weather.

Barges ferrying dry fertilizer on the Mississippi River and into Minnesota have found some waterways frozen over for longer than normal, Greseth said.

"The ice has some deliveries running a week, 10 days late," he said, but an increase in oil-by-rail traffic has also weighed on the train network.

Rail shipments of crude oil have been on the rise in North Dakota's Bakken energy patch, where production is nearing 1 million barrels per day, and roughly 72 percent of that fuel moves on the tracks.

Last week, farmers beseeched federal officials to make sure rail operators such as BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway Co were giving them enough access to the tracks.

The Surface Transportation Board, a regulatory agency that arbitrates rail disputes, has heard from farmers across the upper Midwest that a shortage of rail cars and delivery delays were endangering their livelihoods.

BNSF executives have said service will improve in the years ahead along with investment and an expected uptick in farm, crude oil and other commodity shipments.

(Reporting By Patrick Rucker in Washington and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; Editing by Peter Galloway)

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Energy

PDVSA Charters Another Algerian Crude Cargo

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA has hired a supertanker to load a second 2 million-barrel cargo of Algerian crude, according to preliminary tanker fixture data.

Russian Minister to Intervene with Gazprom on Slovakia Gas Flow

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak will intervene with Gazprom to raise reduced gas shipments to Slovakia to contracted levels, Slovakia's economy ministry

Total Names Refining Boss to Replace de Margerie

French oil company Total has appointed refining boss Patrick Pouyanne as chief executive to succeed Christophe de Margerie who was killed in a plane crash in Moscow this week.

News

PDVSA Charters Another Algerian Crude Cargo

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA has hired a supertanker to load a second 2 million-barrel cargo of Algerian crude, according to preliminary tanker fixture data.

Video: USCG Medevacs Navy Sailor off Virginia

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) medevaced a man Wednesday from a Navy vessel off the Virginia coast after watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth

VT Halter Begins Building LNG-powered ConRo Ships for Crowley

VT Halter Marine, Inc., a subsidiary of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), has commenced construction on the first of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered,

Logistics

PDVSA Charters Another Algerian Crude Cargo

Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA has hired a supertanker to load a second 2 million-barrel cargo of Algerian crude, according to preliminary tanker fixture data.

NYK Line Joins PNW West Coast Metro Pool

Effective October 20, 2014, NYK Line has become a member of the PNW West Coast Metro Pool (WCMP) operated by Trac Intermodal. The WCMP operates chassis at all major marine terminals,

Long Beach Cargo Continues to Climb

Cargo container traffic rose 7.3 percent in September at the Port of Long Beach compared to the same month last year, making for the Southern California seaport’s busiest September since 2007,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2138 sec (5 req/sec)