A little more than one week ago, the German council from Reutlingen ordered 300 tones of salt from Romania to melt the snow on the roads. Fifteen trucks carrying "reasonably priced" salt were going to arrive last Thursday in the town 40 km away from Stuttgart. The delivery deadline was corrected after seven-nine days. In the meantime, it expired as well. Only 48 tones and two trucks have made it to the destination. It is not known precisely when the rest of the order will follow in the town where it continues to snow. Even the main streets need the imported salt.

The Reutlingen council contacted the intermediary from Ulm, who arranged for the salt supplies brought from Romania. The first excuse was that there were insufficient means of transportation. The second excuse was the adverse weather. The latest version has the salt on the way to Germany.

In the meantime, Reutlingen analyses the Spanish market to find other salt sources. For a complete removal of the snow from Reutlingen's roads, starting from 4 am and carrying on until 10 pm, authorities need 100 tones of salt and 30,000 euros.

But all such actions had to cease last week, not only in Reutlingen, but also in Tübingen and in other towns from Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart authorities say they're doing better, that they still have salt in their deposits and a flexible contract with salt mines in Heilbronn, which "have to deliver additional supplies", according to the local press.

In some parts of Germany, the situation is catastrophic. Hamburg resorted to crisis measures and plans to import salt from Maroc by ship. If in "normal" circumstances the salt used for roads sells for 60/80 euros per tone, the prices have soared now: authority currently pay 200 euros per tone, some say even 300 euros. "But we only pay when the good has been delivered", a Reutlingen council representative said.

The neighbouring towns are also eager to order salt from Romania and Spain. An official from Biberach says that the council doesn't know if the salt is going to arrive "tomorrow or for Easter!".