Phosphoric Acid, Phosphates & Fertilizers Experts

Florida fertilizer producers weighing Irma impacts on US facilities

HOUSTON (ICIS)–While residents of Florida began cleaning up and assessing damage from Hurricane Irma over the weekend, fertilizer producers in the state said on Monday that they are still weighing the impacts of the tropical system on their operations.

Producer Yara, who has ammonia storage facilities and a US office in Tampa, said that while power and telephone service have been disrupted for its Tampa facilities and employees, it has not yet seen any indications of damage to its facilities.

The Norway producer said it had been monitoring the situation carefully since it made landfall and that the main concern has been on the safety of its workforce. Yara has about 100 employees in the affected areas of Florida, and the company said in an update that all have been evacuated or in safe locations.

Producer PotashCorp also has not experienced any major issues at its phosphate operations in the southeast part of the country as a result of the hurricane. The company said that both the White Springs, Florida and Aurora, North Carolina phosphate facilities have resumed normal operations.

The only major producer that seems to have suffered some disruption is Mosaic, who did not have further updates as of Monday afternoon. The company said earlier in the day that its team in central Florida was assessing the damages, but all of its employees appeared to be safe.

Damage at the Mosaic facilities seem limited. The producer expects to resume production soon but does expect its Q3 2017 phosphates production volumes to be impacted.

The only damage the producer was confirming was to a warehouse containing finished fertilizer at the Bartow facility, with other facilities appearing to have only suffered more minor impacts.

Meanwhile, railroad companies began suspending service and issuing embargoes as a result of Hurricane Irma, they said on Sunday.

Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) suspended all mainline and local train service, the company said. It closed all terminals to gate activity.

FEC is now assessing any damage to its terminals and network, it said.

CSX said it discontinued intermodal traffic destined to FEC locations.

Norfolk Southern said that traffic in route to locations near the southeast coast are being held at various yards throughout its systems. In addition, Norfolk Southern has issued embargoes for those locations.

According to Kansas City Southern (KSC), these Norfolk Southern embargoes include Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia Garden City Marine Terminal.

Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles/hour (210 km/hour).

It made landfall again in Marco Island in southwest Florida later on Sunday.

Since making landfall, Irma has travelled north along the west coast of Florida.

While the state is not a significant petrochemical producer, it does have some phosphate mines.

Mosaic said on Saturday that it plans to idle its phosphate mines in central Florida.

In addition, Tampa Bay, Florida, is an important entrepot for ammonia.

For the port of Tampa Bay, a condition Zulu was imposed, which closed it to all vessel traffic.