Bulk Deicing Salt Market Update & Review

At this point in time, there are significant unknowns in the bulk deicing salt markets. The following memo and the article "County to Pay 16% More for Road Salt" by Dave Gong in the The Journal Gazette serves to lay out the facts that are known at this point in time.

General Information:

  1. Salt production is still limited in the Midwest mainly due to Cargill.
  2. Ships available to import additional quantities are in great demand due to the salt companies using more and more imported salt in the Great Lakes network.
  3. Dock space as a result is in high demand and storage costs are increasing.
  4. Record levels of precipitation have impacted the quality of salt stored under tarps or outside
  5. Many procuring imported salt due to major domestic salt company demands. Costs unknown in many cases until salt is on dock (demurrage, timing, etc.).
  6. Dock space is in question and high-water levels due to extremely high rainfall.
  7. Quality of salt on docks with levels of precipitation and not being tarped.
  8. Pricing levels for 2019-2020 increasing over 2018-2019 season based on normal allocations not being filled.
  9. Trucking and all associated costs increasing due to reduction of CDL drivers, rising equipment costs and governmental demand.
  10. The pricing listed in article are early buy, early fill state and County which Commercial / Industrial customers won't receive.

Salt Manufacturing Companies:

  1. Availability will be limited to 40% of previous years purchase, not accepting new customers at this time.
  2. Security of bulk deicing salt will not be guaranteed by any manufacturers during season.
  3. Bulk deicing salt will be at record high levels for Force Majeure / Government act of Eminent Domain for any salt in public view
  4. Salt storage on al Michigan docks will be limited due to leasing by manufacturing companies not having salt and unwilling to offer space to competitors
  5. The major salt manufacturers having the following issues (some continue from last year): Cargill has increased leaking in mine causing dramatic volume disruptions, production issues.
  6. The rising levels of the Mississippi River have caused supply issues on the network and ultimately Chicago Metropolitan region as most salt comes up the river for that market.