Sep 15-16, 2021
The Argus Fertilizers 2021: FSU, Caspian and Black Sea Markets conference took place on 15-16 September in Batumi, Georgia. The event brought together a wide international audience — key producers, traders, transport companies, government agencies, shippers, exporters and financiers. The general partners of the conference were Wondernet Express Investment and Trammo. In addition, the event was supported by sponsors Eurochem and Pace, the sponsor of the evening reception Rustavi Azot, session sponsors Azeri firm Socar and Uzbek firm Uzkimyoimpex, and special sponsor IK Group. The conference was supported by Intertek, Georgian Railways, Grossdorf and Kotta Container. More than 200 delegates from 30 countries, including Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Switzerland, gathered for unique market information, networking and the exchange of contacts. The event was held in a hybrid format — some of the audience and speakers attended the venue in the Hilton Batumi hotel, while others joined online. Mamuka Murjikneli, chief executive of Wondernet Express Investment, and Nina Khangaldyan, committee member and workgroup co-ordinator of the International Fertilizers Association (IFA), welcomed the guests. Argus vice-president for business development Oliver Heartfield made a presentation on trends in the global fertilizer market and the evolution of global demand. In addition to the macroeconomic analysis, he gave an overview of the nitrogen, ammonia, phosphates and potassium markets. Among the global trends, Heartfield noted a spike in prices for finished fertilizers and feedstocks after the Covid-19 pandemic. Tatyana Grebennikova, head of marketing at Eurochem Trading Rus, gave a report on the impact of global climate change on mineral nutrition technologies. She examined the implications of climate change for the agricultural sector and its adaptive potential using Georgia as an example. “Fertilizers can be a reliable tool in increasing the sustainability of agricultural business in the face of climate change,” concluded Grebennikova. Timur Mukhamedzhanov, director at Uzkimyoimpex, spoke at the session on the production potential and fertilizer export routes in central Asia. In his report on the development of the export potential of Uzbekistan’s chemical industry, he described the state of the national industry in the country and said government policy is aimed at developing new chemical projects, including those in partnership with large international companies. Evgeny Krishtalev, senior analyst at Argus, spoke about the logistics of fertilizer transport in the Caspian-Black Sea transport corridor. Specifically, he highlighted competition between routes and tariffs as well as transport in the Azerbaijan-Georgia corridor and the Volga-Don Shipping Canal (VDSK). Despite the unstable operation of producers, interruptions in the operation of port infrastructure and the discrepancy in traders’ approaches to making urea offers, export flows are stable and tend to grow, Krishtalev said. He said the creation of logistics infrastructure and the construction of terminals in the Azerbaijan-Georgia corridor will further increase fertilizer transits along the route. On the second day of the conference, participants visited multifunctional sea terminal Pace at the port of Poti and the new fertilizer transshipment terminal of Wondernet Express Investment in Batumi.