There were not enough wagons for salt


Producers fear supply disruption.

Anatoly Kostyrev, Natalya Skorlygina, Kommersant newspaper.

July 14, 2021

A sharp increase in demand for gondola cars has caused a shortage of capacities for salt producers, according to the website of the Kommersant newspaper. Applications of companies are satisfied by about 50%, which threatens to disrupt supplies, including for food enterprises, as well as an increase in salt prices due to higher transportation costs. Rusprodsoyuz asked Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev to intervene in the situation. Operators are preparing to return up to 20,000 gondola cars to the market in the near future, which will help balance demand.

Executive Director of “Rusprodsoyuz” Dmitry Vostrikov asked the Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev to assist in resolving the situation with the shortage of gondola cars for salt mining enterprises. Kommersant has a copy of the July 13 appeal. As Mr. Vostrikov notes, at the end of March 2021, there were 577.73 thousand gondola cars on the railway network, while the market demand was 430-450 thousand units. But over the past three months, rolling stock rates have risen by 40%, and owners and operators have sharply reduced the supply of free-to-load fleet.

As Dmitry Vostrikov writes, the owners of the wagons guarantee the salt-mining companies the supply of almost half the demand.

This has already led to the shutdown of some sites and threatens the fulfillment of obligations to counterparties, including the risk of disrupting the supply of salt to food enterprises, the letter says. In addition, Mr. Vostrikov warns, a significant increase in rates for gondola cars will “definitely lead” to an increase in the price of salt for consumers, since logistics occupies a significant share in the cost of salt. Yevgeny Ivanov, a leading expert at the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, explains that there are few salt production facilities in the country, sites are located in remote regions, so a significant part of the price of salt on the shelf is formed by logistics and retail margin networks.

In the largest salt producer in Russia, the Orenburg Russalt, they say that with a need for about 4.5 thousand gondola cars per month, the owners guarantee no more than 2.5 thousand units.

“Schedules of deliveries to industrial enterprises, to energy and utility infrastructure facilities have been disrupted. Further failure to meet the needs of various industries can lead to a reduction in salt reserves to a critical level.

warns the representative of Russalt.

“Crimean salt industry” transferred part of the shipments to road transport, which is more expensive, says commercial director of the company Vyacheslav Knyazev. According to him, the company has not raised prices yet, but part of the additional costs will be borne by consumers.

Salt mining operations experienced shortages of wagons in 2016-2017, which led to higher shipping costs and the accumulation of unshipped salt. The problems were associated with the disposal of the old park and ended only by the beginning of 2019, says the interlocutor of Kommersant.

The current crisis, according to Rusprodsoyuz, is not justified by market factors, but is caused by “coordinated actions” of owners and operators to increase the profitability of their business.

The Ministry of Transport told Kommersant that the appeal is under consideration.

According to the publication “Kommersant”