You are here

The Origins of the U.S. Fertilizer Production & Transportation Report

When Genscape began to interview members of the fertilizer industry to measure interest in a facility-level monitoring product, we were assured by many that "everyone knows when a plant is down because they have to report it." In reviewing our historical data, however, evidence of shutdowns not mentioned in the press or in incident reporting systems was found. It was no longer surprising then to see one plant shut down without any prior notice and four plants significantly change production levels within the first two weeks of the report. Preliminary analysis indicates that plants may not run as consistently as expected, and the U.S. Fertilizer Production & Transportation Report is designed to fill in these gaps and explain inconsistencies, sharing weekly updates on plant production levels and daily alerts for any significant changes that occur.

Prior to initiating the report, it was discussed whether clients should be contacted daily, weekly, or even monthly. Once settling on a monthly report, it became apparent how often alerts would need to be published to share intelligence on vessels leaving berths loaded with fertilizer destined for or arriving at U.S. ports. Every day since the initial launch of the report, there has been some update, often identifying two or three ships destined for U.S. waters, including large urea ships from China. At this point, Genscape is accurately identifying greater than 90 percent of ships that are eventually identified by U.S. Customs as urea, UAN, or anhydrous vessels with plans to add MAP, DAP, and potash in early April. This accuracy will only improve as time goes on, since Genscape Vesseltracker-driven geospatial search engine is constantly evolving and becoming better trained.

Three Month Fertilizer Import Estimates

Finished Fertilizer Products are Being Assessed Ahead of TFI Data

Within the report, Genscape's plant-by-plant production data is aggregated to assess the U.S. finished fertilizer products for UAN, ammonia, and urea. While The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released their Q4 2014 U.S. production data for N-products on March 15, Genscape clients receive this data monthly. The table below shows how Genscape accurately predicted U.S. Dry Urea production ahead of the TFI release. Genscape combines the vessel import data with the product modeling to generate weekly estimates of complete fertilzer inputs into the U.S. market (see example for Urea below).

Urea: TFI vs. Genscape

Inventory Assessments Provide Anecdotal Confirmation

Genscape's U.S. production and import assessments are complimented by spot checking current inventory levels. Using experience in imaging oil terminals, Genscape spot checks UAN inventory levels at strategic locations as needed. The series of images below was taken on March 10, 2015 at a UAN terminal along the Illinois River, and shows the inventory levels ahead of the spring season.

UAN Inventory Imaging

Genscape's U.S. Fertilizer Production & Transportation Report provides the most frequent production and transportation data for fertilizer producers, traders, and commodity analysts in the market, complemented with regional nutrient demand assessments. For a limited time, you can download a complimentary copy of the most recent report here. To find more information on the report or request a free trial, click here.

This entry was posted in: