Brace For Price Increases

A number of factors are impacting the availability of items vital to snow and ice management and price points as the industry preps for Winter 2021-22.

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I’ve been cautioning readers to take more inventory on deicing materials as a precautionary measure to avoid potential problems with availability in times of shortages. What I had failed to consider was the impact on other sectors that spill over into the deicing world, such as packaging materials such as bags, weather-proof covers, wooden pallets, etc.

Pallet costs have risen over 50% in the past two months, according to a recent report in the Detroit News (CLICK HERE). We’ve all heard about the lumber problems and skyrocketing costs, in many cases ten times above average. Now, this spills over to wooden pallets, with used pallets costing the same as new pallets cost six months ago. For example, a $9 used pallet is now has a price tag of around $15.

PVC Film

Many bagging operations use FFS – form, fill, and seal – roll stock bags. PVC resin prices are spiraling up and with that goes the cost of the bags, according to a recent Bloomberg report.  Also, the pallet weather covers and stretch wrap are all impacted, as well.

There are many things that are hard to anticipate, but we know that prices are going up on both bulk and packaged ice melt products this coming winter season without question. Be careful to check your costs and get them confirmed as you commit your respective businesses to snow removal contracts for the coming season. I predict no component of the professional snow and ice management market will escape these price increases.

Driver and trucks

As I’ve stated in recently (CLICK HERE), the writing is on the wall as it pertains to transportation costs and problems getting items to market on time. Reports are citing 25% less over-the-road truck drivers on the road, which will drive up delivery costs and cause service delays.  And we’re already seeing this.   In addition, the ocean container congestion problems are impacting nearly every aspect of commerce. And I suspect most professional snow and ice managers will not begin to experience this shortfall until they can’t get equipment or material that was previously as easy to purchase as popcorn in a movie theater.   

So, anticipate and plan accordingly for unexpected material and product shortages and challenges this summer and heading into Fall 2021. They are coming.

Snow Magazine contributing editor Rob English is president of Chemical Solutions Inc in Franklin, Mass. He frequently writes about the rock salt and deicing materials industry.


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