Fertiliser cargo from Russia headed to US

39,000 tonnes of urea ammonium nitrate solution on its way
calendar icon 22 July 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

A tanker carrying a liquid fertiliser product from Russia is about to arrive in the United States, reported Reuters, citing sources and vessel tracking data, at a time of widespread worry that sky-high global fertiliser prices could lead to food shortages.

President Joe Biden's administration has not blacklisted Russian agricultural commodities, including fertilisers, in the aftermath of the Ukraine invasion. Still, many Western banks and traders have steered clear of Russian supplies for fear of running afoul of rapidly changing rules.

Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of fertiliser, key to keeping corn, soy, rice and wheat yields high. Farmers have scaled back fertiliser use due to high prices, and cut the amount of land they plan to cultivate.

Washington sanctioned Russian crude, refined products, coal and liquefied natural gas, and imposed a 22 April deadline to wind down imports.

The Liberia-flagged tanker Johnny Ranger was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on Monday carrying about 39,000 tonnes of urea ammonium nitrate solution, a fertiliser produced by combining urea, nitric acid and ammonia, the sources and Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

The vessel loaded last month at St. Petersburg, according to Eikon data.

Details on the seller and buyer were not immediately available. The US Treasury Department and the US Customs and Border Protection agency declined to comment.

A State Department spokesperson said the United States has never sanctioned food or agricultural goods from Russia. "Unlike the Russian government, we have no interest in weaponising food to create humanitarian crises at the expense of vulnerable populations."

US non-food sanctions will remain in place until Russian President Vladimir Putin stops the war in Ukraine, the person added.

In 2021, the United States imported $262.6 million worth of urea ammonium nitrate fertilisers from Russia, according to the Commerce Department.

This week, the US International Trade Commission revoked hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on urea ammonium nitrate fertilisers from Russia in an effort to ease fertiliser shortages and price increases.

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