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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Work underway to construct one of Europe’s largest liquid fertiliser plants

Sunderland will soon be home to what could be one of Europe’s largest dedicated liquid fertiliser plants.

Brineflow has commenced work on constructing a “significant” expansion of its terminal at Port of Sunderland.

The investment comes just four months after the opening of the company’s first purpose-built terminal at the port.

It will see the firm increase its handling and storage capacity by almost a third.

Liquid fertiliser plant 

Brineflow has invested over £5 million into the port over the past year. It has created employment throughout the supply chain from factory to field.

The company believes its latest move will be “key” to rising to the challenge of meeting the “ever-growing” demand for liquid nitrogen fertilisers whilst reducing reliance on Russian gas.

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It is of the view this will place Port of Sunderland “at the heart” of the global fertiliser supply chain.

Simultaneously, it says this will provide a “major” boost to British farmers and growers.

According to Brineflow, liquid fertilisers are the fastest growing area of the fertiliser industry.

They cited farmers recognising the economic and environmental benefits over solid products, including reductions in emissions, as the primary reason for this.

Soaring fertiliser prices 

In a statement, a company spokesperson said:

“With fertiliser prices up by 350% in 12 months, farmers are being incentivised to be more accurate about the placement of fertilisers and the use of liquid fertilisers helps with that.”

“We have started work on phase two construction of one of Europe’s largest liquid fertiliser import terminals at Port of Sunderland.”

John Fuller OBE, chairman of Brineflow, said that fertilisers form the foundations of a global food chain.

Also, he stated that for the last three decades, Britain has become “increasingly reliant” on Russian gas to produce its fertilisers as factories in western Europe have ceased production.

He said: “The dramatic expansion of our new terminal will make it one of Europe’s largest liquid fertiliser terminals.”

“Also, it will open us up to the largest ship tankers from global markets instead of smaller vessels that are restricted to European ports.”

“Our investment will make a substantial contribution to the food security of our nation. This will place Sunderland at the crossroads of international supply lines that keep our country fed.”

Furthermore, the Great Yarmouth-headquartered company identified the port due to its:

  • Strategic location on the East Coast;
  • Access to key transport links.

John added: “We have been delighted by the reception to our phase 1 development which opened in August.”

“Farmers from the Humber to the Borders have gained new sources of supply. We have used a range of contractors including local hauliers.”

“It’s all given us the confidence to build one of Europe’s largest dedicated liquid fertiliser import terminals right here in Sunderland.”

“It will set new standards for environmental efficiency and emission control whilst allowing the largest ships to bring this crucial national ingredient to our shores, reducing Britain’s reliance on Russian gas.”

The global liquid fertiliser industry

Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland, said:

“Over recent years, we have invested tens of millions of pounds into the port to make it investor-ready. Brineflow is a perfect example of the calibre of organisation we’re now able to attract.

“We are delighted to have been able to work with them on this ambitious project.”

“Recent fertiliser supply issues have exposed a key fragility in the UK agricultural sector.”

“This development will play a significant role in alleviating the pressures on Britain’s farmers and growers,” Hunt concluded.

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