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Local company looks to Africa for road salt amid shortage

Posted at 4:57 PM, Nov 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-08 18:29:52-05

As Milwaukee prepares for the first snowfall of the season Friday, North American salt remains in short supply due to a 12-week strike at the Goderich Mine in Canada that occurred over the summer. 

TODAY'S TMJ4 first told you about the salt shortage in September.

On Thursday, Adam Schlicht, the Port Director at the Port of Milwaukee, said he's confident the area will have all the salt it needs for winter - even if supply is still a bit low. 

"The salt piles at Jones Island might appear a little low to date," Schlicht said. 

"But at least 10 more vessels carrying salt will come to the port between today and approximately February 15," he added. 

He said each of those vessels will be carrying at least 20,000 tons of salt. 

Additionally, the Port of Milwaukee has already seen about 700,000 tons of salt brought in by vessels so far. 

One of those was a vessel containing 32,000 tons of salt from Morocco. 

The MCR Group, a local snow removal company, arranged to buy the salt, according to its President Jesse Hoffmann. 

Hoffmann said the MCR Group will use the salt at the properties it will plow this winter - like the Bayshore Town Center. 

But most of it will be sold to other, local snow removal companies who rely on the MCR Group to buy salt. 

Hoffmann said the shortage of North American salt made it sensible to purchase the Moroccan salt, even if it was pricier. 

His company placed the order at the end of July. 

"I don't have the option to go back to (our buyers) and says, 'salt prices are now three times more expensive than what they were,' or, 'I can't get product for you.' That would put me out of business," Hoffmann said.