Keywords: Fertiliser trade, Commercial activity.
This paper briefly examines some of the trends and changes which are likely to affect commercial activity in the fertiliser business into the next century. I will start by stating the obvious:
– Substantial changes in patterns of business generally occur over an extended period Ã¢â‚¬â€ in our business often over a macro-cycle of about 15 years. By chance (or is it?) this coincides with the generally accepted ‘economic’ life of a fertiliser production unit.
– Changes in our industry are only triggered to a small extent by internal developments and shifts. Major changes in commercial activity and trade flows are a function of more significant politico-economic changes. Changes in the fertiliser business are a fair reflection of more general macro-economic developments.
If we are to look forward 10 or 15 years to guess what commercial shape the fertiliser business will take, we necessarily need to speculate as to what major political changes will be shaping commerce as a whole. For example, the last major macro-cycle experienced by our industry was generated by what we might refer to in short-hand as the OPEC macro-cycle – a nexus of new assumptions, policies and myths which changed the face of the fertiliser business between 1973 and 1990.
I will follow the title of this paper to the letter and sub-divide it into two parts, the former dealing with changing patterns of trade and the latter with commercial activity as it affects the day-to-day business of most members of the Fertiliser Society.
Bernard A Brentnall, British Sulphur Consultants, London, UK.
16 pages, 14 tables.