Will Salt Prices Spike?

Will Salt Prices Spike?

ASCA's Kevin Gilbride has his ear to the ground and shares what he's hearing about this season's salt prices for snow contractors.

July 17, 2018

Well folks, here we go again. 

Everything I am hearing is that this is going to be one hell of year for salt pricing.  I have spoken with a number of people who are telling me that the government bids essentially came out at or above last year’s contractor preseason pricing. 

That’s right, the government bids are higher than what you paid per ton at the beginning of the last.

A few years ago, when the entire country was inundated with snow, virtually every salt bin (contractor and governmental) was empty.  We knew from the beginning we were in trouble going into the next season. 

This season, though, it only seems that contractor salt bins are empty.  I had reports from across the country that governmental bins were still stocked and still being supplied up to the end of the season.

So, what does this mean? 

Really, I’m not sure. Perhaps the salt companies are trying to recoup losses they had from cheap municipal pricing that played out due to the extended season. Perhaps they incurred increased expenses due to the expanded season and need to cover costs. Perhaps, as many will speculate, the salt companies are just screwing everyone.

Personally, I am not sure the reason why matters right now for the short term. So, here is my recommendation: Never have government bids gone out and the contractor pricing ends up lower.  With bid pricing ranging from the low $60 per ton to the high $80 per ton for the government, expect the contractor pricing to be set accordingly.  Depending on the state you could see $80’s to low $100 per ton for your initial pricing. 

Start talking with your salt suppliers now.  Talk with more than one of them.  Get bids now.  Commit as soon as possible, then take delivery as soon as you can.

Kevin Gilbride is Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association. (ASCA) You can reach him at kgilbride@gie.net