2023: The State of the Road Salt Industry

Road Salt and Ice Melt Supply

As the winter season plugs along, you may come across the challenge of finding road salt.  This is something that most snow and ice management companies have to deal with almost every year. To make yourself ready for dealing with such challenges, it is better to have a clear understanding of the state of the salt industry. Continue to read and we will be sharing some useful insights about the salt industry. Based on this, you will be able to figure out whether you will have to face any major challenges with finding salt in the upcoming winter season.

Challenges associated with road salt logistics

The fuel costs continue to increase along with time. As a result, you will have to spend more money to source the road salt that you need in the upcoming months. On top of that, you will also have to deal with problems related to shipping congestion similar to last year.

Due to increased fuel charges, you will also have to deal with numerous problems when you are applying salt to the properties of your clients. For example, if you are using a wheel loader for salt spraying, you will have to burn around 12 gallons for an hour. Since the diesel price is around $6 per gallon, you will have to spend around $72 per hour only on fuel expenses. When you add the labor costs and other expenses on top of it, you will have to charge a hefty fee from your customers.

Due to the increased fuel expenses, we often see how a lot of ice and snow management companies tend to include a fuel surcharge expense in their invoices. You may think of doing the same if that can help you with covering up the extra cost that you have to bear on fuel.

In the meantime, you need to understand that your salt suppliers are dealing with the same problems associated with high fuel expenses. They are not capable of predicting what the future fuel cost would be like to include it in the supply contracts. Therefore, you will also have to deal with fuel charges on the supply contracts that you are getting in the future.

Overcoming hidden problems with road salt

As a snow and ice removal company, you will also have to deal with multiple hidden problems in the upcoming season. For example, we have seen how numerous contaminants are present within the products that commercial services providers use for deicing. People are getting to know about these contaminants. As a result, you will be questioned to be transparent about the deicing products that you use and their composition.

For example, it is not possible for you to use radioactive brine on public roadways. Likewise, you need to understand the laws related to offering your service and operate within the boundaries.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the by-product materials that you will be creating while you offer your services. Gas, wastewater, and oil are some perfect examples of such by-products. However, it will not be possible for you to separate the brine solutions from contaminants. Therefore, you will have to deal with added expenses when you are trying to dispose of wastewater. To overcome this challenge, you may think about looking for municipalities that would charge you a lower fee.

Not just brine solutions will lead you to problems with unwanted contamination. Even rock salt that you use can contain numerous contaminants, which are not supposed to be left on the ground. Therefore, it is essential for you to get a clear idea of what you are applying on a property. You should pass over this information clearly to the clients and get their consent as well. By doing that, you will be able to overcome numerous problems that can take place in the future.

Sourcing road salt may be problematic

In the future, you will also have to face numerous problems with sourcing salt. One of the oldest salt mines in the country, Cargill, suffered a major roof collapse. Due to the same reason, the production of salt was severely impacted. Likewise, we can see accidents in the salt industry taking place regularly. Due to all these accidents, the supply of salt to the market is continuously limited. This would eventually disrupt the supply chain.

To overcome the supply-chain problems, contractors are looking forward to getting into more rigid contracts with the buyers. This is something worth considering if you are looking forward to offering your services to customers without any interruption. One of the most prominent things that you will notice is that road salt suppliers tend to be very careful with their commitments. If you are looking forward to getting in touch with a new supplier, you may have to experience rejections due to the same reason. This is not just because the supplier is not interested in working with your business, but because of the challenges present in the industry.

Sticking to premium ice-melting solutions

Cargo transportation through ocean lines is disrupted and the prices continue to increase with time. Due to the same reason, it has become quite challenging to get premium-quality ice-melting products imported from other parts of the world, such as Asia, Africa, and Europe. To add to this problem, there is a major problem with the supply of magnesium chloride all around the world. On the other hand, the supply of calcium chloride is limited as well.

If you are looking forward to getting premium quality ice-melting products, you need to understand that things can be quite challenging in the future. You will have to deal with a lot of stress to get them sourced as well. Instead of going through all those troubles, it would be worth it if you can look for alternative ice melt solutions available.

Final words

Now you are aware of what the salt industry looks like as of now. Keep the facts in mind and make appropriate plans to make sure that you don’t run into any challenges with managing your business in the future. If you have any questions or road salt needs, please contact our team at SISCU.