December 16, 2014 – Rizwan Bhatti – BR Report –
To avoid urea shortage in the country, the first consignment of 60,500 tons of urea, imported by TCP, has arrived at Karachi port. Following the directives of the federal government last month, the state-run grain trader (TCP) signed four urea deals with different international suppliers for import of some 385,000 tons of the commodity.
Under the agreements, urea arrival has started as a ship MV OCEAN MERRY carrying some 60,500 tons of urea has berthed at Karachi Port on Saturday evening. The ship was loaded and sailed from China a few days ago. The offloading of the commodity has already initiated and some 8,000 tons of urea has been discharged from the ship during last two days.
A high official of TCP has also confirmed that first urea shipment import from the international market has arrived a day earlier. He said two more urea consignments are scheduled to reach today (Tuesday). “MV IONIC SPRIT and MV ERTEA, carrying some 51,270 tons and 45,800 tons of urea respectively, are under voyage and likely to reach Pakistan on December 16, 2014,” he added.
Despite the fact, the country has a urea production capacity of over 6.5 million tons annually against the domestic demand of 5.8 to 6 million tons, the local market is witnessing acute urea shortage for last few years due to low domestic production followed by unavailability of gas. Presently, three domestic urea plants, having a capacity of some 0.1 million tons production per month, have been shut down due to gas shortage in the country.
Sources said TCP is also making efforts to get supply from Saudi Arab Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) to ensure maximum availability of urea in the domestic market to avoid shortage during current crop season. As per the agreement signed in March this year, SABIC will supply approximately over 200,000 to 240,000 tons of urea to Pakistan under $100 million credit facility provided by Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) during CY14. The quantity depends on the international urea price as if the prices will be on higher side that Pakistan will get less quantity or in case of lower prices, the country will have more supply from SABIC.
According to TCP official, SABIC has also confirmed 80,000 tons urea supply during December-14 and accordingly it has nominated two ships MV IVD BEACHWOOD and MV OCEAN FLOWER for delivery of the commodity. Both shipments are expected to reach Pakistan by the end of this month.
In addition, international suppliers have assured TCP that entire 380,000 tons quantity under the four agreements will be completed in December 2014. The timely arrival of imported commodity will help stabilise the urea prices in the domestic market as presently the commodity is being sold at higher rates in different parts of the country due to some shortage. Farmers/growers are compelled to procure 50-kg urea bag at Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,050 against actual price of Rs 1,850 per bag fixed by the federal government, sources said.
As per the industry estimates, altogether available stocks will be some 1 million tons in December. This includes 125,000 tons carryover stock, 400,000 tons local production and some 460,000 tons imported commodity. The TCP has only been assigned the import of urea, while its bagging, transportation and distribution will be the responsibility of National Fertiliser Marketing Limited (NFML) besides ensuring timely supply to farmers.
Farmers, Import, Urea, Fertiliser, Export, Pakistan, Agriculture