South Korea lacks urea water, logistics and industrial sector turmoil China export restrictions | Reuters

[Seoul 9th ​​Reuters]–There is a shortage of urea water required for diesel vehicle operation and factory operation in South Korea. Urea water is used to purify exhaust gas, and if the shortage continues, logistics and factory operations may stop.

There is a shortage of urea water required for diesel vehicle operation and factory operation in South Korea. Taken on the 9th at Masuyama, people lined up for urea water. Yonhap News Agency (2021 Reuters)

According to industry experts, about 2 million diesel vehicles, mainly freight trucks, are obliged by the government to use urea water in South Korea.

China, a major supplier of urea, restricted exports last month to prioritize the domestic market. According to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Resources, nearly 97% of the urea imported from January to September came from China.

A truck driver rushed to a gas station to get urea water for Reuters, but he said that there was a line and his turn did not come, so he had to get urea water as it was. He said he would not be able to continue working from tomorrow.

According to an executive at a major refinery, if trucks stop operating, it is possible that gasoline will not be supplied to gas stations. “If gas stations aren’t adequately supplied, logistics costs can rise in almost every industry and ultimately put a burden on consumers, which could lead to higher prices for daily necessities,” he said. Stated.

The industrial sector is at risk of being even more affected. The department is also obliged to use urea as part of its environmental pollution control measures, and if urea is insufficient, production may stop.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, of the 835,000 tons of urea imported in 2020, 34.7% was for industrial use, 9.8% was for vehicles, and the rest was for fertilizer.

A source from the manufacturer pointed out that urea inventories in the industrial sector are already at low levels. “What we can do is ask the government to relax environmental regulations,” he said.

An executive at the Korea Automobile Technology Research Institute predicts that if urea shortages continue, it will be difficult for automakers to procure parts. He said that if parts makers could not transport parts for export to ports, the production of overseas factories of automakers could be adversely affected.

President Moon Jae-in said at a cabinet meeting on the 9th that “excessive concern” is unnecessary. The government is releasing urea stockpiles in the public sector and plans to release military stockpiles.

This week, we secured 200 tons of urea from Vietnam. Negotiations are underway with other countries to secure a maximum of 10,000 tons.

In South Korea, diesel vehicles manufactured after 2015 need to be equipped with a “selective catalytic reduction” system that purifies nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the exhaust of diesel engines with urea water.

Without urea water, passenger cars cannot start and trucks can only travel at maximum speeds of 20 km / h.