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How To Handle A Salt Shortage

How To Handle A Salt Shortage

Justin Rollin

Winter will be here before we know it. With winter comes storms, ice and snow, freezing rain and extreme cold. The damage and hardships that winter can bring is usually managed with salt to remove snow. However, it is predicted that there will soon be a salt shortage. The salt shortage will make snow removal more difficult. Are you prepared for removing snow and ice in the harsh weather conditions that come with the season?

As you may have read in our previous post, there will be a road salt shortage this winter due to a few factors. Transportation on the Illinois Waterway and Mississippi River has been experiencing partial closures and delays. Additionally, there have been worker strikes in the Bahamas. A major accident in May damaged loaders used for carrying salt shipments. Unfortunately, these issues add up to a salt shortage in the Midwest. A salt shortage can lead to dangerous road conditions. Rock salt is the most common deicer used to manage winter storms and everything else that comes with the winter season.  Without salt, there could be a build up of sleet, snow or ice. This can lead to dangerous driving conditions, with dangerous roadways during winter driving.

In the case of a salt shortage, it’s important to be prepared. You need to account for this salt shortage in your inventory and business practices. 

Pricing May Increase

With a salt shortage also comes the potential for increased costs. An increase in price accounts for the extra transportation and import fees from bringing salt into the United States. These shifts could cause salt prices to double or even jump higher. If you’ve already set your budget for the year ahead these unseen costs can be detrimental to your business. Some suppliers have to adjust their prices midway through the winter to account for these shifts. To avoid this situation, ask your suppliers about their plans for when a shortage occurs. Or, partner with us and you won’t have to worry about any hidden costs. We lock our prices in at the beginning of the season and never increase them throughout.

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How to Manage the Salt Shortage

How to Manage the Salt Shortage

To best prepare for the salt shortage, you should assume will happen. You will need to shift business practices and adjust salt usage. Even if you have stockpiled salt throughout the year, it is still wise to take these measures. Preparedness is key to making the removal process smooth. 

  • Reduce your salt usage. You can incorporate alternatives into your snow and ice removal practices. Some good alternatives are: Beet extract solution, magnesium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate. 
  • Increase other snow and ice management techniques, like plowing and shoveling.
  • Mix your salt supply with sand to make it go further. This allows you to use the salt you have for longer. You can increase supply with another very useful element in winter weather management. This way you can withstand multiple snowstorms and heavy snow events. 
  • Pre-treat the area you’re tending to with anti-icing materials. This will decrease the amount of salt needed for a job.
  • Ensure your equipment is properly calibrated to avoid over-salting.
  • Discuss the salt shortage with your customers. This will help you identify priority areas that need your attention. It is important your sidewalks are a safe place for your customers. Ideally, you won’t need to cut back on any work, but it’s best to be transparent with your customers. Then you will have a plan B in case the salt shortage begins to eat into your inventory.
  • Include clauses within your contracts that protect you from price gouging. 

Implementing these measures will help you have a smooth winter. If you are prepared, you can manage the salt shortage. Take the above measures to ensure your business continues to run smoothly. Get a quote!