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Publication > Issue > Articles

TFI pieces together the future

Summary

The theme of The Fertilizer Institute's 1996 World Fertilizer Conference is Piecing together the future. A fundamental challenge to human endeavour remains the enhancement of food security throughout the world. As Gary Myers, TFI President explains, this is a challenge that the world fertilizer industry is well prepared to meet.

Abstract

Welcome to Los Angeles and to The Fertilizer Institute's 19% World Fertilizer Conftrence. As a partiCIpant m this Conference, you have placed yourself squarely in the middle of all world fertilizer industry activities as we meet here in California. The theme we have selected for this conference is "Piecing together the future" - a reference to the many variables that affect the prosperity of our industry.

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Untangling the web

Summary

The pace of change in business communications remains relentless, and the personal computer and the fax machine have become universal norms in less than 15 years. Within the past handful of years has arrived a new means of communication, which in effect allows computers to "talk" to one another throughout the world. This is the Internet, and it offers many unique advantages compared with more traditional methods. Here, we cut through the jargon to define what makes up the Internet, what it does, and what it can offer an increasingly globalised fertilizer industry.

Abstract

The INTERNET is the name given to the global collection of interconnected computer networks. It is made up of many separate networks, belonging to businesses, academic and other institutions, government agencies, private individuals, and many others besides, all of whom are linked by Internet service providers.

Although different kinds of computer are incompatible with one another, they can all connect to the Internet, in much the same way that telephones can connect to the global network. and just as telephones only become useful when connected to other telephones, the more computers are connected to the Internet, the more useful the system becomes.

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Fighting the odds

Summary

Against the most difficult odds, the fortunes of the hard-pressed fertilizer producers in Western Europe have at last improved as a result of resurgent demand and higher world market prices. This article examines developments in the specific sectors of phosphates. A particular source of strength has been the region's technological expertise.

Abstract

Having undergone exceptionally drastic restructuring during the past decade, the Western European fertilizer industry has emerged in a much leaner, competitive and financially sound state. Nowhere was this surgery more drastic than in the phosphate sector, and it resulted in the permanent closure of 33% of the region's total PzOs capacity, leaving a remaining capacity of 3.5 million tla PzOs. The fortunes of the Western European phosphate sector were analysed by Ole Julian Eilertsen at the recent IFAAnnual Conference in Berlin. He observed that while the region's consumption of nitrogen fertilizers peaked in 1987 at 11.4 million tonnes,phosphate consumption had reached a zenith in 1980, at 6.4 million tonnes. The demand for PzOs fertilizers had fallen to a nadir of 3.7 million tonnes by 1993/94 - a 43% fall from peak to trough, compared with 19% for nitrogen and 29% for potash fertilizers. While the demand for nitrogen fertilizers has subsequently recovered, consumption of phosphates - and potash - appears to have levelled out.

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Newport make it six

Summary

Since its first began operations in 1986. Independent Fertilisers Ltd. (IFS) has moved fast in building up a UK distribution network. It added its sixth blending and distribution centre to its portfolio on 25 July. when the new terminal at the South Wales port of Newport was inaugurated. FI was there to see the celebrations.

Abstract

Independent Fertilisers Ltd. (IFS) continues to make rapid progress in developing a UK distribution network, and on 25 July, the company inaugurated its sixth blending and distribution centre at the port of Newport, in South Wales. At the heart of the operation is a Layco vertical blending unit, which has been adapted to form an integrated blending and bagging facility which will produce over 60 t/h of NPK fertilizers, and a 5,000 m2 warehouse, designed and built by Tarmac. This is the first of its kind in South Wales. The new terminal is located adjacent to the port's deepwater bulk handling facilities, and will be used to blend and store a variety of fertilizers imported via the terminal from around the world. IFS has the option to develop an additional 3,000 m2 storage space.

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Tessenderlo opens a new chapter

Summary

A strong performance in 1995 reflects Tessenderlo Chemie's global leadership in potassium sulphate and feed phosphates, among a wide range of products. The company embarked on a high note in 1996, as it completed its purchase of the US producer of speciality chemicals, Hickson Kerley. The Kerley operation was rapidly integrated into Tessenderlo's portfolio, and is already making a major contribution to group sales and profits.

Abstract

The Belgian-based Tessenderlo Chemic can post a strong claim to being the jewel in the crown of its French parent, Groupe EMC. In 1995, Tessenderlo posted a record profit ofBFr 3.10 billion ($102 million), as the company expanded operations outside its traditional EU base, establishing a notable foothold in the United States and China. Tessenderlo also strengthened its competitive position through a major restructuring programme and stepped up its productive capacity in the chemical sector. Nor has there been any loss in momentum in 1996, as on 1 January, the company took over Hickson Kerley - the US subsidiary of Hickson Internationalfor a reported price of $30 million. Kerley provides an ideal extension to Tessenderlo's portfolio in speciality products, and its product range covers a wide variety of high-analysis sulphur and potassium fertilizers (including potassium thiosulphate). Kerley has been very active in developing new markets - notably in Latin America, developing Asia and Australia, where its products are marketed by Multifert Agencies.

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NAFTA - two years of achievement

Summary

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been hailed as an example for the rest of Latin America to follow. Indeed, the impact of the treaty since it came into effect over two years ago has been closely monitored by other countries in the region, as they negotiate terms for the proposed MERCOSUR free trade agreement. In this article, Fausto Montoya, Editor of British Sulphur's new title, Fertilizantes America Latina, assesses the effect of NAFTA on trade in agricultural produce and fertilizers among the member nations.

Abstract

On 1 January 1994, a new era of trade began between the United States, Canada and Mexico, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect. NAFTA inaugurated the world's largest free-trade area, involving a market of 360 million people and worth $6 trillion in annual production.

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A part of the landscape

Summary

Dome warehouses are increasingly becoming the storage method of choice for a variety of products. They are especially suitable for storing fertilizers, as they offer advantages over other forms of construction in terms of efficiency and reliability. One leading supplier of this type of warehouse is the US company, Dome Technology, and its warehouses may be found throughout the world. This article examines how a Dome Technology warehouse takes shape.

Abstract

Dome Technology, ofIdaho Falls, USA, specialises in building large, thin-shell, concrete domes for the storage of large quantities of bulk material. For several years, domes have become increasingly popular in the fertilizer industry throughout the world, as they offer several advantages over traditional storage technology. These advantages include:

  • A simple and practical design, which allows for the ready accessibility of trucks and loaders.
  • A strong outer shell structure.
  • An unobstructed internal span.
  • Domes are virtually maintenance-free.

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Orders from around the globe

Summary

Next year will mark the centenary for specialist engineering and manufacturing equipment supplier, A.J. Sackett & Sons Co. As it gears up for its anniversary, the company has won a series of major new orders, and continues to augment its product range. Recent successes are described in this article.

Abstract

A .]. Sackett & Sons Co. approaches its centenary next year with a series of major new orders, notably in the fast-growing Latin American and Middle Eastern markets. Headed by Larry Taylor, President, the company specialises in the design of systems and processes and the supply of specialised equipment for the fertilizer industry.

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SQM's wide frontiers

Summary

Nitrate Sales International N. V. (NSI) is the Antwerp-based marketing arm of Chilean speciality fertilizer producer SQH Nitratos, and deals with sales and marketing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and much of Asia. In this review, NSI's General Manager, Frank Biot, describes how the company is developing new markets for SQM's high-grade products.

Abstract

Ever since the first shipment of natural nitrates arrived at the UK port of Liverpool in 1820, Europe has been a keen buyer of Chilean fertilizer products. As the successor to these original suppliers, SQM Nitratos has developed very close marketing ties with Europe, and it has established the Nutrichem subsidiary, which manufactures up to 32,000 tla of speciality soluble and solution fertilizers at Grobbendonk, in Belgium - the world's largest water-soluble NPK plant. This investment is reinforced by SQM's associated marketing operation, Nitrate Sales International N.V. (NSI) , which is based in Antwerp, Belgium.

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A pace=setter for the world

Summary

The Pacific Coast of California and Mexico share a common climate and topography. The earliest settlers from Europe did not view this region as being particularly favourable for agriculture, as the soils were thin and low in available nutrients, and rainfall was low. Much of the region was desert. Today, Californian agriculture has prospered against all odds, as irrigation enabled a wide range of high-value crops to be grown. In this respect, the Pacific Coast of California and Mexico has set an example which other arid regions have eagerly followed with similar success, as they established an intensive agriculture, based on fruit and vegetable crops. These examples include Israel and the Cerra do region of Brazil.

Abstract

From the outset, investment in irrigation systems was matched by the extensive use of fertilizers, tailormade for the specific needs of grapes, citrus, and vegetable crops. For maximum effectiveness, these fertilizers were applied in liquid form, and Pacific Coast farmers pioneered their use. Micronutrients and other speciality products have also gained a significant foothold, and these are an integral part of the region's agriculture.

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