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 April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Energy

DNV GL’s Synergi to Manage Siem Offshore Newbuilding Projects

Siem Offshore has chosen DNV GL’s Synergi Project to manage nine newbuilding projects. Synergi Project software The software is used to optimize the collaboration

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

News

Dortmund Port's Throughput Up

In 2014, Dortmund’s combined goods throughput on ships and trains amounted to 5.7 million tonnes, compared to 5.3 in the previous year. 2.9 million tonnes (+600,000) of this was ship related.

Baltic Mercur II makes maiden voyage to Antwerp

This week Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC) celebrates the maiden voyage of the Baltic Mercur II via the port of Antwerp as part of their regular transatlantic service to the US Gulf.

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Logistics

Dortmund Port's Throughput Up

In 2014, Dortmund’s combined goods throughput on ships and trains amounted to 5.7 million tonnes, compared to 5.3 in the previous year. 2.9 million tonnes (+600,000) of this was ship related.

Dubai Establishes Maritime Arbitration Centre

The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) is in the final stages of completing the rules for the first maritime arbitration centre in the Middles East: the Emirates

Gener8 Maritime to Go Public

Private equity-backed tanker operator Gener8 Maritime filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to proceed with an initial public offering worth up to $100m.

 
 
Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.3458 sec (3 req/sec)