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Chile’s 1Q24 sulacid imports drop 19pc on port closures

  • : Fertilizers
  • 24/05/07

Chile's sulphuric acid imports in the first quarter fell by 19pc on the previous quarter owing to heavy swells at Mejillones port.

A total of 875,000t of sulphuric acid was imported in January-March, down by 19pc from 1.08mn t in October-December last year, GTT data show. They were also down by 15pc on the year.

The drop was mainly down to heavy disruption at Mejillones, Chile's main import hub for sulphuric acid.

The port, which hosts three sulphuric acid discharge terminals, was shut for a record 40 days in January-March owing to heavy swells.

The port closures led to lengthy waiting times to discharge, with some ships experiencing nearly 3-4 weeks from arrival at the port, which resulted in high demurrage costs and a lack of spot demand.

China regained its position as the key supplier to Chile, with imports rising by 19pc to 342,200t in the quarter, as Asian-origin cargoes looked economically viable owing to sliding fob values, while freight rates remained firm.

Imports from South Korea rose by 34pc on the quarter to 145,300t, while Japanese shipments rose by 14pc to 114,300t.

Chinese fob values averaged $16/t on a midpoint basis during the quarter, down from $32/t fob on a midpoint basis in the fourth quarter of last year. South Korea/Japanese fob values averaged $8/t on a midpoint basis during the first quarter, down from $31/t the previous quarter.

Imports from neighbouring Peru dropped by 34pc on the quarter on a combination of logistical issues stemming from the congestion at Mejillones and some unplanned output issues faced earlier in the year by a supplier in Peru.

Imports from European countries continued to slow in the first quarter, falling by nearly 60pc on the prior quarter, as heavy buying by key Moroccan buyer OCP and transport restrictions through the Panama Canal affected trade flows.

Belgium was the largest European supplier to Chile, shipping 33,000t, compared with 86,000t the previous quarter.

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