I am both happy and sorry to report everything I warned about in the preceding State Of Salt columns for nearly the past year are coming true and then some.
First, I’d like to clarify the rock salt increase of $20/ton being reported by a number of media outlets is taken a bit out of context. Salt is up about $15/ton and freight (dump trailers) are up another $5 in this market. To my knowledge, that is in all markets and some more so.
The premium dry melters supply from overseas have indeed dried up. There is very little calcium chloride and little to no magnesium chloride. And adding insult to injury, there is a global shortage of magnesium chloride driven by multiple factors, such as
- Ocean freight costs exceed the value of the product alone;
- Production problems in Germany have taken the German producer of magnesium chloride, DEUSA, off line for an indeterminate amount of time – perhaps 3-6 months;
- Mining permit renewal slowness in Europe have continued to limit production in the Netherlands;
- And while China does have these products, they are extremely challenged to reach the US competitively at this time.
Innovators will out think market challenges every day, and we’ll see how long this goes on. There is plenty of liquid magnesium chloride that should carry the industry for well over a year but suppliers are now nearly sold out of dry and will likely not reload this season as a result of five-fold increases in ocean container freight putting the sea freight substantially above the value of the product.
Calcium chloride is hanging on with domestic production, however Vitro, the producer in Mexico, is now on tight allocation to only existing customers. Oil markets are coming back and trying to buy product with oil prices in the $75/barrel range. In addition, they are very close to resuming production in North Dakota’s oil sands, which will consume a lot of calcium chloride … if they can get it.
Salt supplies are good, but not great. However, all indications are for a warm winter, so this may not be an issue. It’s difficult to predict, but I’m unconcerned with salt supplies for this season in all areas – baring another 2015 run-down where unrelenting storms every few days will clear any salt piles to the ground.
The increases on all deicers are almost exclusively coming from freight – ocean, truck, rail, etc. It’s all up and significantly so.
I do not see any of this abating until second or third quarter of 2023. With commodities like this, it is supply and demand tempered by what people will be willing to pay. We’ve seen record inflation in a short window because people are paying up, but that is unsustainable for more than a brief window.
Snow Magazine contributing editor Robert S. English is President of Chemical Solutions, Inc., Franklin, MA. You can reach him at email@example.com.
“Operators need quick, seamless access to their machine’s telematics no matter where the job takes them, and our Bobcat Machine IQ packages are designed to put all that information at their fingertips,” said Wendi Majerus, digital business product manager at Doosan Bobcat North America. “Now, our customers can access this data through the Machine IQ mobile app, an easy-to-use, intuitive option to help better manage their equipment and maintenance needs on the go.”
Providing this fully integrated user experience, machine and fleet information can now be accessed by operators through two options: the existing Bobcat Owner Portal and from the new Bobcat Machine IQ mobile platform. The new Machine IQ app delivers simplified, streamlined data directly to mobile devices, helping customers monitor machine location and health, and maximize uptime.
The app is free for Bobcat customers and uses the same login information as the Bobcat Owner Portal. It is available on both iOS and Android operating systems. Simply search for ‘Bobcat Machine IQ’ in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and download.
Machine IQ Basics Package
The Machine IQ Basics package is a subscription service which allows customers to effectively manage their machines. The service is free for the first three years from the original equipment purchase date. Machine IQ Basic features include:
Basic Telematics – Tracks key information points, including GPS location and history, operating hours and last recorded fuel levels.
Custom Asset Name – Allows customers to create personalized names to quickly identify machines in a fleet.
Maintenance Interval Tracking – Tracks regular planned maintenance and custom maintenance schedules and allows customers to view high-level instructions in portal for each.
Machine IQ Health and Security Package
The Machine IQ Health and Security package gives customers the ability to upgrade their machine subscription to proactively monitor their equipment. It includes all Machine IQ Basic features plus the following advanced features.
Maintenance Reminder Email Alerts – Notifies customers via email when they are approaching regular maintenance. The alert provides high-level information on how to perform regular maintenance as well as on relevant parts. Customers can access the regular maintenance tracker to see what planned maintenance is coming up, and also sign up for mobile push notifications to go directly to their phones. This quickly alerts them to maintenance reminders, fault code alerts, as well as geofence and curfew breaches.
Fault Code Notifications and Troubleshooting – Distributes alerts, a clear description and troubleshooting steps if the machine reports a fault code. Customers can also subscribe to email notifications for alerts and troubleshooting.
Geofence Creation and Breach Notification – Provides customers with the ability to set up custom boundaries and receive email notifications the moment the machine leaves the specified operation footprint.
Curfew Creation and Breach Notifications – Alerts customers via email if their equipment is being operated outside of designated days or hours.
Machine Utilization Reporting – Tracks machine efficiency and utilization to help customers make more informed decisions. The feature compares idle time, working time and fuel usage as well as generates custom reports.
In-Portal Notification Management – Gives customers the ability to monitor notifications within the portal. A clear notification counter on the home page provides a singular place to manage all important machine notifications.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Machine IQ and additional subscription package details.
Brightview's recently reported its results for the full 2021 fiscal year ending Sept. 30, and the report yielded some interesting insights into the industry's 800-pound gorilla.
First up, Brightview experienced a 8.8% increase in total annual revenue from the prior year of $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion.
You can read Brightview's complete annual report HERE.
On the snow management side -- which you're all interested in -- Brightview was a big winner. According to the financial records, fiscal 2021 snow revenue grew from $163.1 million in 2020 to $284.9 million -- a nearly 75% increase.
"The increase in snow removal services was primarily attributable to growth in our snow contract book of business coupled with the increased frequency of snowfall events and the higher relative snowfall compared to the 2020 period," according to the report.
And if the winter weather cooperates, Brigthview's September acquisition of OnSite Facility Services could contribute to another healthy year of financial returns.
As one of Central New York's largest facility services providers, OnSite's full-service commercial landscaping, snow removal and facility services company expands Brightview's landscape and snow portfolio in this key Northeast market.
Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine.
ASV has introduced a repowered RT-40 Posi-Track loader with a 38.2-horsepower Yanmar engine for added power and the convenience of being serviced by ASV dealers.
Additionally, the small-frame RT-40 showcases new comfort, visibility and performance features over its predecessor, including working in tight spaces that often challenge snow fighters.
“With the Yanmar-powered RT-40, we are doubling down on the machine’s performance, reliability and comfort, as well as making it easier for our customers to service the engine at ASV dealers,” says Buck Storlie, ASV product manager. “The RT-40 is already a staple due to its ability to bring more power and productivity to limited-space work that may otherwise have required a fence removal or needed to be done by hand.”
So what other RT-40 features may get commercial snow contractors' attention?
- ASV repowered the RT-40 with new 38.2-horsepower Tier 4, 3-cylinder Yanmar engine.
- It features a 48.3-inch width, an 8.4-foot lift height, a 931 rated operating capacity and a 7.1 mph top speed.
- The machine also boasts high tractive effort, exceptional pushing and digging power thanks to ASV’s Posi-Power system.
- The RT-40’s quick attach fits a variety of attachments and works with an optional adaptor plate for full-sized or walk-behind/stand-on loader attachments.
- Comes standard with variable auxiliary hydraulic flow and can operate at a high auxiliary circuit flow rate, powered by 13.3-gpm of pump capacity and 3,000 psi of system pressure.
- Labor-intensive belt servicing is eliminated thanks to ASV’s signature use of a direct drive pump. This, along with the machine’s large line sizes and hydraulic coolers, transfer more flow and pressure directly to the attachment to help prevent power loss.
- A highly efficient cooling system allows operators to get more out of their machine. The RT-40 is tested to operate at full load 100% of the time in ambient temperatures from -40 up to 118 F.
- Features new wiring harness routing for additional durability. In addition, the drive hose routing and chassis sealing are designed for reduced rubbing, fewer line breaks and boosted hose longevity.
- Metal-face seals on the front and back ensure the drive hubs do not require maintenance for the life of the machine.
- ASV brought bigger comfort to the RT-40's compact cab. Entry and exit is easier and operators have more hip room due to the new single-sided lap bar, similar to the larger MAX-Series models.
- Partially adjustable armrests and a tall cab improves comfort for operators of different sizes. The cab is also pressurized, resulting in a cleaner in-cab environment.
- Optional all-weather or cold weather cabs include heat and air conditioning. ASV also offers additional comfort features, including a cup holder, phone mount and DC outlet.
ASV also introduced as selection of ASV-branded attachments, including a full range of buckets, pallet forks, grapples and brush mowers. According to ASV, this allows the contractor to work with an ASV dealer as a single point of contact for a comprehensive package of ASV equipment and attachments
“Our new attachment line streamlines the purchasing process by allowing ASV dealers to be a one-stop-shop and ensures our customers get the best performance and reliability with an ASV attachment,” says Jeff Pate, director of sales for the ASV brand.
ASV plans to expand the attachment line to fill demands and variety of job-specific applications, as well as direct feedback from contractors and dealers.
Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine.