Phosphate industry expects minor impact from Irma

Loading phosphate at distribution center
There was a small uptick in phosphate sales ahead of Hurricane Irma’s arrival in Florida, where the bulk of North American phosphate production is located. Phosphate facilities there shut down as part of their hurricane preparedness plans.

Early reports from manufacturers are that damage at the facilities appears to be limited, but full assessment will take time. Some finished product has sustained water damage but no exact estimates have been released yet.

A major manufacturer expects to be able to resume production fairly soon, but says its third quarter production volumes could be impacted by the storm disruptions. It had stopped making price offers to either domestic or international customers until late Thursday, Sept. 14. The market has reacted and prices moved up significantly late last week.

Several import vessels of phosphates are arriving in the Gulf this month, including one vessel with CHS cargo, which arrived and was unloaded in between hurricanes. Most of that product is now making its way up the river system.

Staff at CHS terminals are busy filling orders and working with accounts to get product in position before the busy harvest season gets underway across the Cornbelt. CHS is working hard to make sure producers are being kept informed of any supply changes or concerns that might arise from the recent storm damage to production facilities or transportation infrastructure.

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