Roskill’s Salt 2017 conference – Global opportunities in a new era for the salt supply chainPosted by Dimpal on March 20, 2017
In the first few weeks of 2017 there was significant growth in international salt trade, driven by de-icing markets and low shipping rates. Many of the new salt production projects due on stream by 2020 to supply the de-icing market will produce salt via solar recovery methods, letting nature take care of the expensive job of salt crystallisation for free. Solar salt production already accounts for an estimated 40% of salt production worldwide in 2017. Essam Madbouly of Cristal Global and AT Kordy of Egyptian Salt and Minerals (EMISAL) will be talking about new investments in solar salt production at a conference organised by Roskill, a leader in a leader in international metals and minerals research: Roskill’s Salt 2017 conference takes place March 28 to 29 at the Renaissance hotel in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Historically, Germany served as a centre for European salt trade, and today this industry is still served worldwide by maritime dry bulk shipping. Denny Sabah of Maritime Strategies International will be giving his perspective on salt and dry bulk shipping market trends and outlook on the first day at the conference, in a session which will also include insights from Robert van Muiden of Rotterdam Bulk Logistics and Hugo du Mez of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
Increased investment by salt producers in new sources of cost effective production will underpin growth in the chloralkali sector in Asia. Growth in salt consumption has been particularly strong in China, which is a net importer of salt despite its position as the largest salt producing country in the world. Competition within the salt industry, particularly over the lucrative and sporadic road de-icing market will continue to affect market shares. Patrick J. Laracy, President of potential new entrant to the market, Vulcan Minerals, will be describing at Salt 2017 how his company plans to take advantage of this market for salt. Per Nygaard, International Principal Manager for salt at Azelis, a leading de-icing salt distributor, will elaborate on how the de-icing salt supply chain works in Europe.
According to Roskill, world salt revenues have achieved a steady annual average growth rate to 2017, despite the slowdown in chloralkali markets in recent years. The strongest regional growth in the medium term will continue to be in Asia, but the more mature markets of NAFTA and Europe are also growing. At the conference Roskill will aim to put raw material, regulatory and technology developments within the salt industry into context. The 15th edition of Roskill’s global salt report, Salt 2016 Global Industry Markets & Outlook, was published in late 2016
Roskill 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. As the cost of shipping salt across oceans has fallen, traditional European salt producers are finding that they have to compete with new suppliers from as far away as Australia, Mexico and Chile. Wouter Lox of EuSalt – the European salt producers’ association, will be speaking at the conference about the regulatory and legal challenges that European salt producers face in 2016. Vladimir Sedivy, the President of Salt Partners, a Swiss engineering consultancy, will present a paper in the same session on what drives the salt and chloralkali industry in Europe.
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 46Mtpy commodity polymer, PVC. Dr Jason Leadbitter of Inovyn Chlorvinyl will update delegates on Inovyn’s sustainability programme for salt in PVC manufacture. 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. Dr Henry Lau of Shihlien Chemical Industrial Jiangsu, a major Chinese soda ash producer, will be describing his company’s new 300ktpy pharmaceutical grade salt facility at Salt 2017. Another major Asian chloralkali producer, Aditya Birla, will be putting forward an Indian perspective on chloralkali trends.
The USA remained by far the largest destination for salt shipments in 2016. Chile remained the main supplier to the USA in 2016, supplying an estimated 4.5Mt, mainly for road de-icing applications. Australian salt exports in 2016 were an estimated 8.5Mt, maintaining its longstanding position as the world’s largest salt exporter. However, this total was down on exports in 2015. 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 2016 was partly due to increased competition from Indian exports. Between 2010 and 2015, Indian salt exports to China increased from 0.4Mt to 2.3Mt, averaging 42% py growth. Dev Salt, a major Indian producer of solar salt, will be describing the current status of the Indian salt industry in 2017 at the conference and explaining how Indian producers have achieved such spectacular growth in exports.
Long distance trade is a critical topic for the salt industry and this conference brings together salt producers, specifiers, traders, end-users and equipment manufacturers from every continent. The Roskill conference provides an international forum to debate the current technical issues and market developments (www.roskill.com). As low shipping rates facilitate the movement of salt as never before, these industry players need a regular opportunity to meet and discuss business.
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