Acute shortage of road salt

As large parts of Europe remain paralysed by the cold, the road salt shortage has become acute. Increased demand has been accompanied by a dramatic price increase. Each week another ship arrives fully loaded with salt from the Mediterranean to Prøvestenen in Copenhagen.

“Once a week a boat arrives loaded with between 4,000 and 8,000 tons of salt. But we actually needed two to three loads,” says Jens Jakob Larsen, Country Manager at GC Rieber Salt.

Once in port, vessels are handled by the international shipping company Triship A/S. The salt is then sold on – most is used for maintenance of local and national roads in Denmark and Norway, but some private car park companies have also bought some. There are also a number of private individuals among the customers.

“The price has risen by almost 50 per cent. We are currently ordering much more than we do in a normal year. It’s the same for all companies within our industry in Europe. That’s why producers are short of both salt and quays to load the boats at the moment. We have even ordered salt from Brazil to get more.”

According to Jens Jakob Larsen, even opportunists are managing to sell salt for four times as much at the moment.

“We Danes are huge consumers of salt. I think we use even more salt than they do in Sweden. There seems to be greater acceptance of slippery conditions in Sweden, perhaps because the country runs further north and they are more used to ice and snow.”

Denmark’s GC Rieber Salt is owned by a Norwegian family company based in Bergen, Norway. It was founded in 1879 and is currently one of Scandinavia’s largest salt importers – both salt for roads and for other uses. The GC Rieber Group also works with commodities such as fish oil and sealskin.

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