A gas station in Dortmund, Germany organised the Salt Party last week. In the peak of the enthusiasm, the gas station manager proclaims himself the King of German Salt because 70 trucks of salt brought from Romania were being expected. On Monday, the alarm signal was pulled in Freiburg and other German cities because on Sunday, Reutlingen ran out of the precious winter reserve. A saving convoy was expected from Romania. Germany has no more salt to melt the ice on the streets.
Reutlingen ordered the Romanian salt on Tuesday. 15 trucks carrying 300 tones of salt are to arrive in Germany. In Two days, the salt needs to be spread across more than 1,500 kilometres. If the salt does not arrive in time and if it continues to snow the city with 112,000 people risks a crisis. The streets are being cleaned by services handling accidents. The side-roads are forgotten. Spreading stones is not a welcomed solution because it damages the roads.
"We ran out of salt to spread on streets and we're not likely to receive any soon", Münsingen town administration responsible with the issue, Jürgen Weber, says. Both deposits of the city on the Weiss have finished. A great deal of people drives down to work. New snows would be a local catastrophe. "Suppliers have stopped answering phone calls", Weber explains, noting that small towns stand little chance in getting salt from anywhere else in Germany.
Reutlingen council spokeswoman said that there was the "concern" to find "European solutions" for the snow on roads. But she didn't give away details about the costs of the salt brought from Romania. Standard prices for salt used on roads are 80 euros per tone. Heidelberg city didn't resort to the Romanian salt, but to Serbian salt, priced 195 euros per tone. During heavy winters, the salt becomes gold.
Romania and its salt mines is an important salt producer for Europe. Situations like the current one are heaven sent for salt exports, when reserves in countries like Germany have run empty.
Whether it continues to snow or whether freezing and de-freezing alternate, the traffic is at risk and salt remains a valuable good. Plus, the salt reserves in European countries need to be prepared for next year.