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Publication > Issue > Articles

Facing the challenges

Summary

The IFA Annual Conference, now in its 68th year and growing in popularity, demonstrates the premier place it occupies as the largest international meeting in the fertilizer industry calendar. The 2000 event takes place in Oslo, Norway from 22 to 25 May. Luc Maene, IFA Director General, previews this year's full agenda.

Abstract

W ith the assistance ofits committees and members throughout the world, IFA has assembled a panel of distinguished imernational speakers to cover a broad range of technical, trade, marketing and environmental issues associated with fertilizer production and use. Esa Tirkkonen, Deputy CEO ofKemira Oyj, Finland and IFA President, will officially open the conference on Tuesday, 23 May. The welcome address will be given by Egil Myklebust, CEO, Norsk Hydro, and the keynote speaker will be Michael ZammitCutajar, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convemion on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Mr. Cutajar will address the environmemal issues associated with the emissions of 'greenhouse gases' (GHGs) and their influence on the atmosphere and climate. The production and use of fertilizers generate carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions - two of the six GHGs included in the Kyoto Protocol which commits signatory countries to a reduction in GHG emissions of at least 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. However, the fertilizer industry also has an important role to play in soil carbon sequestration - fixing carbon dioxide as soil organic matter.

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Antwerp e-port

Summary

The Port ofAntwerp operates in a highly competitive market. Last year, the port achieved a throughput of 115 million tonnes of seaborne cargo traffic - the second highest in the history of the port. Antwerp's success is due to the fact that the port has worked assiduously to tailor its facilities and services to meet customers' exacting requirements, and to keep these facilities and services at a high level, the Port ofAntwerp has given priority to a continuing programme of investment and innovation. The field of E-Commerce is in the forefront of the port's strategy for the new millennium, as described in this review.

Abstract

The Port ofAntwerp was quick to recognise the possibilities offered by theInternet. In]uly 1995, the website was created, proving the primary source of information about what is going on at the port. The website not only contains general information about the port's equipment and infrastructure, and updates on the various projects under way, bur also provides much useful shipping data.

One of the main features is the Departure List, compiled by the maritime newspaper, De Lloyd. The list gives a complete overview of regular sailings from Antwerp, including such data as the port of destination, the name of the ship, the Freight Code, the closing and departure dates, as well as the expected time ofarrival. The list is kept up to date by the Antwerp shipping agents. De Lloyd also publishes a departure list for short-sea shipping, a rail transport list, and is planning to provide similar information for inland navigation. The Port ofAntwerp is now working on a major redesign of the website, which will offer even more information.

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Norwegian heritage - global vision

Summary

The shipping industry is of supreme economic importance in Norway, and the country enjoys worldwide renown in the shipbuilding and ship operating sectors, as well as in the associated sectors of shipbroking and industry analysis. Internationally, Norwegian-flagged vessels account for nearly 5% of the world's total deep-sea tonnage, and 10% of the world's fleet in number of ships. The shipping industry, in all its manifestations, accounted for an estimated $6. I billion in Norway's gross national product in 1997. One of the major players is profiled here - Odfiell ASA. It is a company with a significant pedigree, but one that takes a visionary role in its specialised areas of interest.

Abstract

Odfjell ASA traces its history back to 1916, when the specialist chemical shipping company began trading as part of the Storli group. Today's company is a fully integrated shipping company, handling all related functions, such as ship management, operation and chartering, and specialising in the deep-sea chemical tankers sector. The company also has major commitments in the chemical storage and tank container sectors, enabling it to provide an integrated logistical service, both globally and regionally.

Odfjell's core business is the intercontinental transportation of chemicals and other liquids, and the company is one of only two operators to provide a truly global service. As part of its integrated operations, Odfjell offers dedicated functions for technical management, operations and chartering. The company's fleet consists of 49 vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of 1.6 million dwt, which generated a turnover of NKr 3.29 billion ($387 million) in 1999.

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Teaming up for excellence

Summary

Jo Tankers operates one of the most modern chemical parcel tanker fleets in the world. The fleet is employed in a wide range of routes between North America, E.urope, the Middle E.ast and Asia. Over the past few years,)o Tankers has been carefully evaluating opportunities to expand its business, and this has culminated in the alliances recently formed with Kompass and Initial Tank Containers, as described in this profile.

Abstract

As a leading provider of deep-sea transportation services for chemicals and other high-value liquids, Jo Tankers operates one of the most modern and best maintained parcel tankers fleets in the world. The vessels vary in size up to 40,000 dwt and are designed to carry safely liquid chemical products, including phosphoric and sulphuric acid. Each Jo Tankers' vessel has up to 40 fully segregated cargo tanks, the majoriry of which are constructed from stainless steel. The fleet is employed in the following parcel services:

  • USA-Far East-Middle East-USA
  • USA-Europe
  • USA-Mediterranean
  • Western Europe-Africa
  • Caribbean-South America.

Jo Tankers maintains offices in Rotterdam, Bergen, Hamburg, Houston, Singapore and Yokohama. From the Bergen office, the company also provides ship management services for its owned vessels.

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The Russian response

Summary

The Russian ports have sought to respond to the competition offered by the Baltic states in transporting dry bulk products, including potash and other fertilizers. In particular, the ports of St. Petersburg and Ust-Luga have thrown down a competitive gauntlet by planning major investments in new bulk handling facilities and dedicated terminals. The progress with these projects is described here.

Abstract

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the bulk and liquid commodities sectors have witnessed fierce competition between the Russian and Baltic state transport organisations. While oriented politically towards the west and to European policies for integrated, market-oriented transport systems and associated services, ports in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia remain critically dependent on the continuing influx of export-oriented traffic in transit from Russia. The Baltic states have sought to remain competitive by offering low rail tariffs and by investing in enhanced handling facilities at the ports. However, Russia is itself making a concerted effort to divert much of this bulk transit traffic via the Baltic ports in the St. Petersburg region and through the Kaliningrad enclave.

As shown in Table 1, the Russian ports have been very successful in winning increased volumes of business, largely at the expense ofthe ports in the Baltic states. In 1999, about 10% of the Russian transit traffic switched from Baltic to Russian marine ports, leading St. Petersburg to post its highest cargo throughput since 1991. The Maritime Port of St. Petersburg reported a record throughput of 20.56 million tonnes in 1999 - an Increase of 37% from 14.90 million tonnes in 1998. According to Dry Cargo International (March 2000), dry bulk and breakbulk traffic was up by 79% last year, to 15.6 million tonnes. This increase was attributed to more competitive railway tariffs compared with the Baltic states. Bulk fertilizer traffic rose by 19% to 1.69 million tonnes, while coal enjoyed a fourfold increase in volume, from 390,000 tonnes to almost 1.78 million tonnes.

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A new market dynamic

Summary

From its base near Hamburg, Germany, Norddeutsche Affinerie (NA) is one the world's leading copper producers and processors. Since 1998, NA has extended its portfolio to produce high-grade sulphuric acid from its copper smelting operations, and the new grade offers a purity equivalent to sulphur-based acid. In accordance with long-established NA practice, the plant operates to the highest environmental standards.

Abstract

Norddeutsche AHinerie (NA) is an integrated producer and processor of copper, and operates one of the world's most modern copper smelting f:lCilities, with a capacity of around 370,000 t/a of copper cathodes. The copper is produced h'om primary (copper concentrates) and secondary (scrap) sources. Recycled materia Is account for about 30% of rotal NA copper production. The cathodes are processed in NA's own production pbnts, mainly as continuous cast rod and shapes. The main customers f-{)J' these products arc the cable, electric, telecommunication and paint industries and the suppliers to the construction and moror vehicle industries. NA is also active in the fIeld of metal recovery from copper concentrates and recycling materials with the further processing ofthe copper produced. Th is longestablished ability to produce and market co-products from copper smelting has enabled NA to avoid the cost-intensive disposal of residues. NA also gives high priority to environmental care, and in the past ten years, the company has invested over OM 250 million ($1 J2.5million) in measures to protect the envi ron menr. This corresponds to about one third of total capital expenditure during this period.

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