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Salt Price Update

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Patrick34, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Patrick34

    Patrick34 Member
    Messages: 99

    My supplier called today (Michigan), I have salt available at $125/ton. Anyone want any at that price?

    I am debating on pulling the trigger, but that is a steep price.
  2. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,521

    from the prices that people have been throwing out there you mine as well snatch some up
  3. ponyboy

    ponyboy Senior Member
    Messages: 934

    what did you pay last year
  4. ponyboy

    ponyboy Senior Member
    Messages: 934

    last year it was $62 a ton i am still waiting on how much this year my bids are going out next week and i need an idea? i'm hoping not that much but we are close to the ports where it get shipped in
  5. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Adjust your bids according to the price you were quoted.
  6. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    i wouldn't buy it for that. we're paying in the $50's FOB
  7. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    Consider yourself fortunate, that's what it's going for in this part of the Midwest. It's unlikely we're going to see anything better.
  8. Snowgeek

    Snowgeek Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Patrick I'd like some at that price. Can I get it in S.E. Oakland County?
  9. lilweeds

    lilweeds PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,178

    I just don't get it..... Why is salt so much more in other areas. We're still in the mid $60's a ton delivered. Why is it so much more elsewhere.
  10. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    supply and demand
  11. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    I got a $198 per ton quote on bulk salt today.... Makes you realy want to plow this year.

  12. Patrick34

    Patrick34 Member
    Messages: 99

    If you are interested in the salt, just send me a PM. Thanks
  13. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    mine went form $70 at the begining of last season and hasent quite climbing. and now i just give $120 and happy to get it :rolleyes:

  14. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    I have 2 prices; $108.50 and $113.75.

    I have to take delivery of any\all of it to guarantee availability.

    The lower price wants payment within 14 days. OF the quote, not delivery.

    Once snow flies all bets are off on availability.

    This sucks really bad. Might be needing another sprayer like the one I posted a pic of at this rate.
  15. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    I think at this point i would be happy with prices like those, looks like we're going to be paying $121.50 for 1,000 tons of ice melt and have to take delivery all at once.
  16. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    so salt is $50 100 miles north of kc and $120 south of kc

    doesn't sound right
  17. SnoBunny

    SnoBunny Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I got price from two places at $165/ton delivered.

    I'm up in Petoskey, MI so delivery is kinda steep.
  18. Snowgeek

    Snowgeek Junior Member
    Messages: 27


    I seem to be restricted from PM's. Do you mind sending me an e-mail at Type2u@comcast.net
  19. The MAG Man

    The MAG Man Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    Supply and demand is certainly a portion of this, but the problems in salt are more the result of the "perfect storm" for salt supplies.

    The midwest had a strong winter that threw many late season storms after supplies were diminished. The frozen lakes and rivers made reloads impossible forcing the market to rely on locally mined salt and trucked in salt only. 100% of the material on the ground was depleted in the mid-west by March of last year. There is not enough domestic production to cover the entire market demand right now so suppliers are playing the sure bets first; municipal bids. The risky bet is selling to contractors and distribution trades where volumes are only taken based on demand created by weather. Cities and towns all load up with large stockpiles for winter before the first flake and payment is guaranteed.

    Anyone that is near a mine should see prices hold at fairly reasonable levels plus market adjustments, but anyone who is supplied by the river, lake, or rail systems will see prices skyrocket if they can get product at all.

    Everyone is in business to turn a profit including salt companies. You should hope your salt supplier does make money and is profitable and healthy because if they are not then they will go out of business and you will have to look farther and farther away to get product. If the only available product is 500 miles away and with freight it costs $150/ton at your doorstep, then expect that your local salt source will soon come up a lot closer to that price.

    Think of it this way; if you owned a gas station and small refinery and you can make gasoline for $1.20/gallon would you sell it for $1.40/gallon when the stations on either side of you are selling it for $3.50, or would you try to sneak up to $3.40 something and be just a little under the neighbors and put the money in your retirement account? Obviously you'd take the higher price option and try to put some money away for a rainy day. Same applies to the salt business but it's been decades since they have really "made" money. They have run at very low profits in a challenged industry that is mining based. How many people are in a hurry to go to work 600 feet underground and 2000 feet away for the same pay as flippin' burgers around the corner? Mining is expensive and dangerous work. So their costs are high. The product dissolves your equipment, when it breaks it's in a mine where pulling the service truck up with a welder to fix it is an all day job that can only be done by a trained person who is willing to sign a liability waiver and be trained in mine evacuation and emergency respirator use. Mining is a dangerous and expensive business and every single thing that comes out or goes in is on a small elevator.

    Any of you ever been to the underground salt musuem in Hutchinson, KS? Go there if you can because it will give a perspective on what it takes to move a 50 lb. bag of salt from the earth to your customer's sidewalk. It's sobering reminder of "nothing is as easy as it looks". You need explosives, heavy equipment, lights, and a ventilation system that could keep the NY subways running for years. Tie all of that up with red ribbon called OSHA and MSA and suddenly $40/ton is not much money for all the effort and investment.

    All of this is part of a bigger picture where the perfect storm for commodity salt can form. Take North American's apparent withdrawals from traditional markets this year and their lower risk approach to their customer base of not taking on more commitment than they can supply. They played that gamble last year and lost their shirts. After you stick your finger in a light socket, you tend to avoid doing that again for a good long while.

    We do this for a living and we watch market trends closely on salt. My own view is that the North American market for bulk deicing salt is around 1 - 1.5 million tons short if it's a normal winter. If it is a repeat of last year, you can at least double that number.

    The total production of alternative products (cacl2, mgcl2, etc) is less than 500,000 tons so that means in my humble opinion, that if it snows at all we are going to be somewhere around 500,000-1MM tons short nationwide. Apparently others see this market the same way I do and they are hedging their bets accordingly. Some markets are only moving $15-$20/ton while others are more than doubling.

    I've been saying the same thing for months and I'll say it again: wherever you buy product for this season, get 100% of your needs in your hands or under firm contract (take or pay) prior to the first flake or I don't think you'll get it. We are busy here like it's the middle of December and snowing sideways, and it's nearly 90 degrees on another cloudless summer day in a long string of them.

    We are far from out of the woods by any stretch.

  20. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    Mag Man- Thank you for your input. Unfortunately, although you may feel a sure bet is a municipal contract it is not totally correct. I, for example, have cash in hand to pay for an average year's worth of salt. In August I had been informed I would not be able to get any. Municipal contract sure thing? Sure thing for me is if I don't get salt in bulk form, then I lose my customer's. I am buying truck loads of bagged product now in order to service my customers. My customer's are my income. Your customers are your income. Lose your customers this year, lose your profit from those customers next year. Lose your business follows. I do understand your position. I am not bashing you. It is simple math, no sales to contractors this year equals contractors with no faith in their suppliers next year which equals alternative de-icing products. I appreciate your honesty and not wanting to sell product you cannot get. I hope the suppliers find a way to get their product in order for everyone to benefit this year.