In order to reduce bad substances emitted by diesel vehicles, the Korean government has made it mandatory for several years to add urea water. However, as the easily available urea number suddenly became a precious product, as you can see, the government hastily took measures, but there is no apparent number.
This was covered by reporter Han Sang-woo.
The shortage occurred on the 15th of last month when China suddenly stopped exporting urea.
Although a catastrophe was foretold, the government’s initial response was not easy, and in fact, the logistics were on the verge of paralysis within three weeks.
[정병우/화물차 운전사 : (요소수) 그게 없으면 당장 내 생계가 막막한데, 이거 뭐 마스크 대란보다 더 심해요.]
The measures taken in haste raise questions about their effectiveness.
I am most looking forward to the production of urea water for vehicles with industrial elements, but it is not technically easy.
[이항구/한국자동차연구원 연구위원 : 그건 기술적으로 안 된다고 다들 얘기하잖아요. 쉽게 얘기해서 같은 석유에서 뽑아내도 휘발유와 경유가 다른데….]
We plan to import it from Russia and Indonesia, but it is difficult to do right now.
[화학업체 관계자 : 전 세계 요소 물량의 3분의 2를 중국에서 공급하는데, 그게 안 나오니까. (베트남, 말레이시아, 인도네시아) 거기에 구하려고 해도 지금 수급이 안 되는 거예요.]
In the worst case, there is even a plan to stop the operation of the exhaust gas reduction device and SCR on diesel vehicles, but it is not realistic.
There are 2.15 million trucks that stop when the SCR and the driving engine are linked, and it takes several months to change the vehicle program.
In addition, the emission of nitrogen oxide, a carcinogen, increases up to 13 times, and it is a violation of the current law, so it must go through the legislative process first.
Fundamentally, the problem is a weak supply chain that is highly dependent on specific countries.
Three out of 10 items imported by Korea account for more than 80% of imports from certain countries, and about half of this depends on China.
Whenever variables such as a rise in raw material prices or trade disputes occur, it is necessary to diversify import sources in advance so that the supply chain shock does not repeat itself.
(Video editing: Lee Seung-yeol, VJ: Jung Min-goo)
▶ “We sell urea in bulk”… Let’s remit 6 million won ‘slept’
▶ ‘Waiting for 3 hours’ to buy urea water… truck starting to stop