Buyer found for sanctioned Muuga Harbor fertilizer

Muuga harbor,
Muuga harbor, Source: AS Tallinna Sadam

Twelve thousand tonnes of sanctioned Russian ammonium nitrate fertilizer will be removed from Tallinn's Muuga Harbor in the coming weeks after it was sold to Scandagra, a leading provider of agricultural products and services in the Baltic States.

The fertilizer was owned by Russian company Acron which can no longer sell the products onwards after sanctions were introduced after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.

The government requested an exemption from the Financial Intelligence Unit to sell the goods, which can explode if left in one place for too long.

Scandagra's CEO, Margus Venelaine said there is not likely to be a shortage of buyers.

"We bought it with the whole Baltic market in mind. Now we have to wait for the customs formalities to be done, all the taxes paid, and then we will ship and truck to our Baltic customers. Before that, the goods still have to be packed, as most of them are in bulk. The total annual consumption of fertilizers in the Baltic States is up to two million tonnes, so there are unlikely to be any problems with sales," he told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK).

Muuga Harbor, operated by the Port of Tallinn. Source: ERR

The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) has been keeping an eye on the fertilizer to make sure it meets safety requirements.

Ingrid Teinemaa, head of the TTJA's technical department, said it has not become dangerous and regular tests have been carried out.

"To date, the situation with the ammonium nitrate has not become any more dangerous, detonation resistance tests have been carried out in September and October, which meet the requirements and show no risk of explosion," she said.

Teinemaa said the removal process will not be dangerous either as the "fertilizer itself is not dangerous". She said there is a "misconception" that if it's moved it will cause some sort of explosion but said it is "certainly not the case" here.

Muuga Harbor. Source: Jaan Kronberg/HHLA TK Estonia

While Muuga Habor's saga may be coming to an end, other Estonian ports still face similar problems, such as the Port of Sillamäe in Ida-Viru County where sanctioned fertilizers from two companies are being stored.

"But the fertilizer is either in the process of being removed or buyers are being sought today," said Sandra Värav, secretary general for Business and Consumer Environment at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

"Negotiations with buyers are ongoing, and the companies are keeping the state very well informed of the situation. And as soon as buyers are found, an application will be made to the Financial Intelligence Unit for the sale and export of the goods," she told AK.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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