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

Energy

Legislation Grants Funding for EU's EMSA

EU Council Adopts Regulation on EMSA Funding The European Union Council adopted a regulation yesterday to finance the actions of the European Maritime Safety

Semco and PV Join Forces for Rig Upgrade

Semco Maritime and PetroVietnam Marine Shipyard join forces to establish high class rig upgrade player in South East Asia - Vung Tau Rig Services. The initiative

Statoil Awarded Licence Offshore Colombia

Statoil has been awarded interest in the COL4 licence offshore Colombia in the Caribbean Sea in the 2014 Colombia Licensing Round. Statoil will hold 33,33% in the licence.

News

Seafarers Beware – Social Media Ahead

Videotel, part of KVH Industries, Inc., has launched a new program, Social Media at Sea, addressing the unique dangers of inappropriate use of social media by shipboard

Concordia Tow Update: Smooth Sailing

The Costa Concordia wreck removal team reported this morning at 10:30 a.m. that after 22 hours of navigation, the convoy was over 50 miles off Giglio Island with about 140 miles from Genoa Prà-Voltri.

Thome Is the First to Sign up to IMPA Act

Leading integrated ship management service provider Thome Ship Management has become the first ship management company to join IMPA ACT, the responsible supply chain management initiative,

Logistics

Thome Is the First to Sign up to IMPA Act

Leading integrated ship management service provider Thome Ship Management has become the first ship management company to join IMPA ACT, the responsible supply chain management initiative,

London, Brazil Terminals Boost DP World Container Volumes

DP World , one of the world's biggest port operators, said on Thursday that its gross container volumes rose 10.7 percent from a year earlier in the first half of 2014.

Abu Dhabi Ports Shift Far More Breakbulk Cargo

Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ABPC) says that general cargo moving through Abu Dhabi’s commercial Ports has increased by 37% this year. ADPC’s commercial ports (Musaffah,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.3129 sec (3 req/sec)