Fertiliser from Fenland company is first cargo of the year at the Port of Sutton Bridge
A SHIPMENT of more than 2,600 tonnes of granular nitrogen fertiliser was unloaded as the first cargo of the year at the Port of Sutton Bridge.It was the first of five planned this year in the silver jubilee year of independent fertiliser specialist Law F
A SHIPMENT of more than 2,600 tonnes of granular nitrogen fertiliser was unloaded as the first cargo of the year at the Port of Sutton Bridge.
It was the first of five planned this year in the silver jubilee year of independent fertiliser specialist Law Fertilisers, of March.
Managing director Mark Law said that it took more than two days to discharge the vessel - some delay was caused by snow and ice - and she sailed on Wednesday's morning tide.
"We've had three or four ships a year into Sutton Bridge. But, with the success of this product and our pricing position, we will be bringing five ships of this size this coming season," he added.
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"Shipping freight is actually very carbon friendly because it is very efficient to move by ship. We're delivering in bulk direct to some farms, which are possible with this nitrogen because it is a genuine granule so it can't be used by terrorists; so it saves farmers an awful lot of money.
"Agronomically, it is a very good product for various reasons, and it can be loaded directly into a lorry and then tipped in a grain store."
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Mr Law said one farmer took a tractor and trailer-load. "It only required one bucket-load because it is a four-tonne drop at a time. It takes 30 seconds and they're loaded," he added.
More and more farmers were appreciating the advantage of a local port, said Mr Law.
"A number of farmers took a lorry load, but we've got several who are interested in having 1,000 tonnes," he said. "It has attractions for farmers in Norfolk, particularly because it has free magnesium. It is granulated with magnesium, and most Norfolk light soils would benefit from that. Magnesium is under-used on East Anglian farms."
Mr Law said the company was planning celebrations to mark the silver jubilee this summer.
He added that that the cargo was the start of a long-term agreement to provide a much needed alternative to the UK-based, foreign-owned maker of premium-grade ammonium nitrate fertilisers. The product, which also includes 3pc magnesium, could be delivered to farm in bulk.
With direct ex-ship deliveries at �125/tonne, this is a �70-80/tonne discount over current granular nitro-gen prices, according to Mr Law.
By dealing direct with a shipper and manufacturer, farmers will have a premium product when required but also with a stable and low price, he points out.
"The last farming season saw nitro-gen prices going up to �400/tonne before nose-diving to �180/tonne within months," said Mr Law. "In my view, there was no real cost reason for the huge price increases we saw in the first place. However, this new shipment of bulk granular nitrogen will be the first of many in 2010 and will give farmers the opportunity to deal direct with a local fertiliser producer as well as providing them with real benefits of cost and waste management."
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