Pakistan initiates urea import to address Rabi season shortfall

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In response to an anticipated fertilizer shortfall for the upcoming Rabi agricultural season, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has launched an international tender to import 200,000 metric tonnes of urea, which we have forecasted in our earlier publications. The decision comes as a proactive measure against the expected deficit resulting from a forecasted gas supply interruption to key fertilizer production units in Punjab. The TCP seeks to ensure uninterrupted urea availability to farmers during the critical sowing period from October to March.

The TCP’s tender stipulates that the urea shipments be divided into four consignments of 50,000 metric tonnes each, scheduled for delivery between December 2023 and 13 January 2024. The National Fertilizer Development Center, a governmental advisory body, has projected the Rabi season’s urea demand at approximately 3.335 million metric tonnes, indicating a significant shortfall of 509,000 metric tonnes, inclusive of 200,000 tonnes of strategic reserves.

The TCP, operating under the Ministry of Commerce, invites bids from international suppliers with the capability to deliver the required urea in bulk to either Karachi or Gwadar ports, as outlined in the tender document. Bids for quantities less than 30,000 metric tonnes will not be entertained, and all proposals must be submitted to the TCP office in Karachi by 13 November 2023.

In anticipation of these imports, the government of Islamabad is also considering augmenting local fertilizer production through the provision of LNG and gas blends, with the possibility of additional imports contingent on market conditions and industry feedback during the period.

The tender requires that the urea be delivered in four to seven lots, ensuring the complete arrival of the cargo in Pakistan by the January deadline, thus securing the fertilizer needs for the Rabi cropping season.

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