Salt Prices for Upcoming 2014 – 2015 winter season.

I have been hearing that salt prices would be going up this coming winter season. It looks like the increases will be hefty.

The following is an excerpt from the Detroit Freepress, it confirms what I have been hearing from Landscapers, prices from $110 – $120 per ton will not be uncommon. Liquid Deicers will be the answer to those trying to beat the high cost of deicing this winter season.  Calcium Chloride w/BOOST* and Liquidow 32% calcium chloride are the best liquid deicers on the market to help with your anti-icing and de-icing operations.

“Late August may seem an odd time to be sweating the winter weather outlook, but it’s serious crunch time for snow removal contractors scrambling with shortages and skyrocketing prices for the one commodity critical to their livelihoods — rock salt.

That’s why the first Salt Summit was convened in Detroit this week by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), the industry group for about 1,600 private snow removal contractors in the U.S. and Canada.

Following the snowiest winter on record in Detroit and other northern cities, these contractors now face huge jumps in salt price quotes for the winter ahead, if they can even find suppliers willing to promise delivery of the amounts they need.

“We’re hearing bulk salt prices that are in some cases double what they were a year ago,” SIMA CEO Martin Tirado told me Wednesday. From a price around $70 per ton a year ago, he said contractors are now getting quotes of $120 to $150 a ton from suppliers.

Major government agencies responsible for clearing highways and main arteries are the biggest bulk salt users, buying on long-term contracts and getting priority treatment when salt supplies tighten.

Mike Anderson, president of Snow and Ice Pros in Hammond, Ind., and chairman of SIMA’s board, said his suppliers are quoting prices 77% to 111% higher than last year, when he was also hit with mid-season price hikes.

“We’re at the bottom of the totem pole. The salt companies have to sell to the municipalities first,” Anderson said. SIMA members are typically small- to medium-size businesses, whose customers include shopping malls and other commercial entities.

Local road agencies, though not part of the Salt Summit, are also squealing about price hikes and depleted reserves. Sales prices for road commissions have jumped 46.3% this year to a statewide average of $65.71, said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan, in a news release Tuesday.

Some local governments could be looking at big budget hits, such as a predicted $500,000 to Washtenaw County’s 2014-15 winter expenses. “We are attempting to do more with less and the budget hits just keep on coming,” said Jim Harmon, operations director for the road commission in the county, home to Ann Arbor.

“This year our salt price is more than $66 per ton — more than double what it was a decade ago and a $40-per-ton increase since the last gas tax increase,” said Jerry Byrne, Kent County Road Commission operations director, voicing a common complaint among cash-strapped government agencies.”

Stretching the salt

The two-day Salt Summit, which sold out quickly with more than 100 SIMA members, included not only discussions of salt supplies and pricing, but also a look at various materials and application techniques contractors can use.

“We’ve been trying to provide more education on how to manage your salt supply,” Tirado said, noting that the use of liquids or brines in the ice-melting process can conserve salt and improve efficiency.” “

To help with figuring how to use liquids for Parking Lots and Sidewalks, please refer to the link below. It has really good information from MnDOT and others in regards to estimating spread rates, calibrating equipment and environmental concerns.

parkinglotmanual-june06 

Please check out Post in my Archives that can help with Direct Liquid Applications and choosing the right liquid for your operation.

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About Dave Budd

Vice President of Product Development and Marketing, Great Lakes Chloride, Inc. Serving Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. Retired Michigan DOT, October 2010 after 32 years experience in Maintenance/Operations. Specializing in winter operations and liquid de-icers and anti-icers.
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