A Salty Situation


The salt shortage across Dubuque is leaving the city in a scramble. The owner of Skyline Construction, Mark Arthofer states,”Is there a salt shortage? Of course there’s a salt shortage. Basically all the terminals will be empty in Dubuque by the end of next week.”

As the icy winter continues, local construction businesses concerns are growing over the city’s salt supply.

Arthofer explains, “The salt shortage started last summer already, Well two of the major salt companies had issues.One of them had a strike in their mine in Canada which lasted much longer than they have anticipated. There was one of the other major players who had a water problem in one of their mines so they were dealing with that. So they were not able to produce the amount of salt that they did. So both of those issues came into play and nobody thought it would last that long.”

Due to the two major salt mines experiencing discrepancies, Arthofer took the initiative to buy two barges of salt from Egypt. He explains that the salt industry is a world market and the demand for salt is higher than ever.

“Early on in August, I actually purchased and brought in another two barges. That salt actually came from Egypt which is quite crazy to think about that we are bringing in salt from all over the world.”

With concerns surrounding the salt supply mounting so early and skyline constructions inability to foresee the coming weather patterns, things were bound to be tight before the winter even struck.

“The biggest problem is roads are being built every year. There’s also more and more shopping centers being built-So there’s more pavement there and putting more demand on the salt. There’s still only X amount of mines in the world. So they’re trying to get all the salt to supply all this so its becoming a challenge” says Arthofer.

Arthofer tells us that the challenge arises from the public’s demand on keeping everything clean and safe right when a snow storm hits. However, with the increase of lane mileage, road work and shopping centers, efficiency seems to be slipping away among the salt industries.

Furthermore, with the salt percentages dropping, the salt prices are heavily increasing. Arthofer is hopeful for the future with new plowing technology cutting the prices of salt in half and making the distribution of salt more efficient.

“This new plow will basically peel the snow right off and take you to just about bare pavement. That plow alone- if I add to these type of plows it will literally cut my salt usage by fifty percent. So its a goal as association to try and help because we are foreseeing the shortage is not never going to end and be an on going thing.”

With the amount of salt being at an all time low there it could be a hit or a miss when it comes time to grab an extra bag of salt before the next snow storm hits.

Theisen’s General manager Mitch Klepert says that the business took in about forty-five tons of Salt since December.

Klepert explains Dubuque’s requests for more salt stating, “This is about as bad as I can remember-as far as the demand for salt right now the only thing I have is my Balk salt from Skyline and as far as I know I will continue from the salt that we have and that bag salt is either a hit or a miss right now. But we keep the orders plugging away, so we kind of cross our fingers that we get a delivery every week. ”

As Dubuque prepares for the ongoing frigid weather, both Theisen’s and Skyline construction are working hard to provide a sense of safety for all of Dubuque.  Looking at the current salt supply and future weather forecast local business are preparing for what is to come.

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I am a Sophomore from Dubuque, IA and I am currently majoring in Media Studies and Sociology at Loras College. I report for LCTV and my favorite song is "Don't Stop Believing" by: Journey.

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