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IGL says ammonia shortage has been alleviated

IGL Limited, the sole local supplier of ammonia gas used as a refrigerant by companies, says it has restored adequate supplies of the product after facing difficulties with shipment.

The islandwide shortage of ammonia during the second quarter of the financial year was highlighted by ice cream maker Caribbean Cream Limited, which trades as Kremi, as partly responsible for a dip in sales during the period.

Kremi’s issue was compounded by leaks CEO Christopher Clarke said the company had at its plant. The leaks have been repaired, but caused a marginal dip in sales, down 1.3 per cent, for the three-month period ending May 2023. Still, company profit soared to $6.7 million, up from $1.3 million for the comparative period of 2022.

Ammonia is reportedly imported from Trinidad & Tobago. The product used commercially in large freezing and refrigeration plants is also called ‘anhydrous ammonia’ because it contains almost no water.

It is colourless but has a sharp, pungent odour.

“Ammonia is an imported product and requires specialised containers for shipping. The main supplier had product, but had a difficulty with containers. That has been resolved months now and there is adequate supply,” Managing Director of IGL Jamaica Peter Graham told the Financial Gleaner.

“One particular customer situation was compounded by major leaks in their system,” he added.

The gas, which is comprised of two other gases — nitrogen and hydrogen – is said to be growing in popularity as a cost-effective replacement to greenhouse gases chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, since the system requires less electricity.

Additionally, an ammonia-based refrigeration system is said to be less costly to procure and is reportedly safer for the environment.