Fertilisers

Sulphate of Ammonia and Ammonium Nitrate are examples of manufactured nitrates, and a valuable agent in their production is sulphuric acid, a product which also finds a use in a large number of other manufacturing processes. Although there are specialised molten-sulphur carriers and tankers capable of transporting sulphuric acid, by far the majority of sulphur is moved in dry-bulk state and converted into sulphuric acid “on-site”. Sulphur is obtained naturally in many parts of the world – particularly from Sicily (Gela) and from Western France (Bayonne), whilst the US Gulf was once a major exporter. Now, however, much sulphur is obtained as a by-product of the oil and gas industries and forms a major export from Western Canada, from Poland and Northern Germany, from Libya and Syria in the Mediterranean, and from the nations of the Arabian Gulf. Some importers use it to up-grade their own products. For example, Morocco enhances the quality of its exploitation of vast natural phosphate deposits by using imported sulphur to manufacture stronger and more valuable di-ammonium (DAP) and triple-super phosphate (TSP). Phosphate is found all around the African coastal nations from Togo (Kpeme) in West Africa northwards via Senegal (Dakar) and Morocco (Casablanca, Jorf Lasfar, Safi), to Tunisia (Sfax and Gabes), which latter national also engaged in the manufacture and export of Ammonium Nitrate. Other prolific exporters of phosphate and its derivatives are Jordan (via Aqaba) and Egypt (El Hamrawein), certain of the Pacific Islands (e.g. Christmas Island) and also the South Eastern United States (from the port of Tampa) which also exports upgraded material such as DAP and TSP. The USSR is also an exporter – via Murmansk (where it may be called apatite) and overland through Finland (where Russian mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) may be exported via the port of Kokkola. Potash can be shipped naturally (especially from Israel, Jordan and from Canada), or as manufactured potassium chloride.