Roskill has reviewed the production plans of more than 300 salt production assets worldwide during the research for its 2016 report. Germany’s K+S has retained its position as the largest producer in the world, fending off a hostile takeover bid and announcing two major expansion projects during 2015/16.
The world market for salt, which is used to produce chlorine, caustic soda and a wide range of other important chemicals, is forecast to grow fastest in Asia. By 2020, Asia is expected to account for 50% of global trade, from approximately 45% when Roskill published its last edition of this report, in 2014. China’s chemical plants have been a key driver of this growth.
Chloralkali production is the largest end-use for salt. Chlorine is the raw material for the production of numerous organic chlorine compounds, the most important of which in terms of volume is ethylene dichloride, a chemical precursor to the 45Mtpy commodity polymer, PVC. Caustic soda also has a very wide range of end-uses including alumina manufacture, pulp and paper production, and chemical processing. Synthetic soda ash production is the next largest end-use for salt, and this in turn is mainly consumed in glass applications.
Another major market is in de-icing applications. The USA has remained by far the largest destination for salt shipments in 2015. Chile remained the main supplier to the USA in H1 2016, supplying an estimated 2.3Mt.
Australian salt exports in H1 2016 were an estimated 5.2Mt, maintaining its longstanding position as the world’s largest salt exporter. However, this total was down approximately 4% y-on-y. Australian producers export salt to Japan, China, South Korea and Indonesia for use in the chemicals industry. This decrease in salt shipments from Australia to Asia during early 2016 was partly due to increased competition from Indian exports.
What was world production, by region and country, in 2015?
What will world production capacities be by company and by type in 2020 and 2025?
What are the major trade flows?
How have trade flows been affected by low shipping rates since 2009?
What are growth rates by end-use and region to 2025?