Baltimore to partially reopen by end of April

  • Market: Agriculture, Coal, Coking coal, Fertilizers, Metals
  • 04/04/24

The Port of Baltimore shipping channel will be partially reopened — to a depth of 35ft — by the end of April and will fully reopen by the end of May, the Maryland Port Administration said on Thursday.

The waterway has been blocked since the early morning hours of 26 March, when the containership Dali lost power and struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing the bridge to collapse into the water. Large vessels used for coal exports and containers and vehicle imports have been unable to traverse the waterway since.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) now expects it can have a 280-foot wide, 35ft-deep channel — large enough for one-way barge container traffic and roll on/roll off car carriers — "within the next four weeks — by the of April," the port administration said.

A permanent, 700ft-wide, 50ft-deep navigation channel allowing normal port access is expected to open by the end of May.

"These are ambitious timelines that may still be impacted by significant adverse weather conditions or changes in the complexity of the wreckage," Corps Lt. General Scott Spellmon said.


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17/05/24

Japanese bank Mizuho boosts support for H2, ammonia

Japanese bank Mizuho boosts support for H2, ammonia

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Trade curbs spur Chinese battery firms to look overseas


17/05/24
News
17/05/24

Trade curbs spur Chinese battery firms to look overseas

Beijing, 17 May (Argus) — An increasing number of Chinese battery firms have accelerated their expansions outside China, to meet buoyant overseas demand and to tackle escalating geopolitical curbs. These curbs include the US' newly announced tariff hikes on China's electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries from 2024 or 2026, and the EU's potential punitive duties on battery EVs originating from China. The US' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the EU's Critical Raw Material Act have also prompted many Chinese battery material producers to step up their overseas expansions. China's battery material manufacturer Hunan Zhongke Electric has unveiled a plan to invest no more than 5bn yuan ($692mn) to build a production plant for battery anode material in Morocco, in which some other Chinese firms have also invested in similar projects. The plant has a designed capacity of 100,000 t/yr and will be developed in two phases with 50,000 t/yr each. The firm aims to complete plant construction for each phase in 24 months. Zhongke is a major battery anode material producer in China with 210,000 t/yr of capacity as of the end of 2023. Its output of anode materials rose to 143,513t in 2023, up by 14pc from 125,460t a year earlier, driven by the country's rising EV sales. It aims to expand overseas sales in the coming years. Major Chinese copper producer Zhejiang Hailiang also outlined a plan to build a 25,000 t/yr production plant for copper foil used in lithium-ion batteries in Morocco. Construction will take 36 months. "The layout of the Morocco project can help us penetrate into the European and US markets as soon as possible as exports from Morocco are duty free to these markets," Hailiang said. "This will help us avoid any international trade barrier." Morocco is one of the main destinations for Chinese companies to invest in and build overseas battery component plants given its abundant resources for phosphate, a main chemical compound in a lithium iron phosphate battery, and its free trade agreement (FTA) with the US. It is also a major cobalt metal producing country outside China, with cobalt being a critical mineral used in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. Major Chinese battery material producer EVE Energy is on track to develop a production project for energy storage batteries in Malaysia. It will establish a subsidiary EVE Energy Malaysia Energy Storage to develop this project to meet Malaysia's energy storage battery demand, although it has not disclosed the capacity, construction schedules and launch dates. The plant is the second phase of EVE's new energy products development in Malaysia. It in August 2023 started building a plant for cylindrical batteries mainly used in electric two-wheelers and electric tools in the southeast Asian country. The firm said the US' new tariff hikes will not affect its business because it had planned the Malaysia projects for consumer batteries and energy storage in advance, and these projects will support shipments to US consumers by 2026. New US tariff hikes US president Joe Biden's administration announced on 14 May that the tariff on lithium-ion EV batteries will immediately increase to 25pc, while the tariff on all other lithium-ion batteries is set to increase to 25pc in 2026, both from the current rate of 7.5pc. This is likely to trigger more Chinese battery companies to increase their overseas investments to avoid the tax, according to industry participants. The US' tariff hikes have drawn strong criticism from China. "Politicising and instrumenting economic and trade issues is typical political manipulation," said the country's ministry of commerce. "The Section 301 tariff hikes goes against President Biden's promise of 'not seeking to contain China's development' or 'not seeking to break the chain of decoupling from China'. The US should immediately correct its wrongful actions and cancel the tariffs. China will take 'resolute" measures to safeguard its own rights and interests'." Chinese battery firms' investments in Morocco Company Products Capacity Launch dates CNGR CAM precursors, LFP, black mass 120,000 t/yr, 60,000 t/yr, 30,000 t/yr 4Q, 2024 BTR CAM 50,000 t/yr N/A Hunan Zhongke Anode material 100,000 t/yr in 24 months Huayou Cobalt/LG LFP 50,000 t/yr in 2026 Huayou Cobalt/LG Lithium salts 52,000 t/yr N/A Sichuan Yahua/LG Lithium hydroxide N/A N/A Hailiang Li-ion battery copper foil 25,000 t/yr in 36 months Source: Company releases Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Sinking crop values weigh on US farmer profits in 2024


16/05/24
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16/05/24

Sinking crop values weigh on US farmer profits in 2024

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Japan’s Mol orders dual-fuel LPG, ammonia VLGCs


16/05/24
News
16/05/24

Japan’s Mol orders dual-fuel LPG, ammonia VLGCs

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La Nina outlook offers boost to Australian agriculture


16/05/24
News
16/05/24

La Nina outlook offers boost to Australian agriculture

Sydney, 16 May (Argus) — The outlook for Australia's crop and beef production is turning more positive in 2024-25, with the country's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) updating its climate forecast towards a La Nina weather trend forming at the end of this year. BoM updated its El Nino-Southern Oscillation (Enso) outlook to a La Nina Watch alert on 14 May, with indicators suggesting this phase developing in late 2024. Approximately half of all watch alerts have followed with the projected Enso event occurring. Crop production and grazing conditions will likely benefit from increased rainfall should the weather trend eventuate. La Nina is associated with higher than average winter-spring rainfall from the northwest to southeast of Australia. Grain yields and production in Australia's eastern cropping regions typically increase with a La Nina. Australia experienced record production during La Nina events that occurred during 2020-23. Winter crop production peaked at 69mn t and 63mn t in the 2022-23 and 2021-22 fiscal year respectively, according to Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (Abares) data. The La Nina Watch alert comes as the US Department of Agriculture projected Australia's wheat production to increase by 3mn t from a year earlier to 29mn t in the 2024-25 marketing year, according to data released in its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on 10 May. Coarse grain production is also projected to rise by 4pc to 14.87mn t. But Enso weather events have limited impact on southwest Western Australia (WA). A potential La Nina is unlikely to aid WA cropping zones currently experiencing very low soil moisture levels . Increased rainfall from a La Nina developing in late 2024 may not coincide with the growing season of east Australia's wheat crops, which are typically sown during April-June and harvested in November–January. Too much rain around the harvest can damage crops and degrade quality. Floods in late 2022 damaged harvests in New South Wales, resulting in Abares at the time downgrading the state's production projections by 2mn t. Increased rainfall in east Australia will boost pasture availability for cattle producers. Increased capacity of feed may encourage producers to increase herd sizes, potentially supporting future slaughter and beef production. But the agriculture industry may be wary of the BoM's latest outlook. BoM was widely criticised after last year's El Nino declaration in September, which promoted some producers to pre-emptively destock at low prices in fear of dry conditions that did not occur. By Edward Dunlop Australia winter-spring rainfall during La Nina years (deciles) Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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