Reduced salt prices offered through new ESPO framework

Highways Reporters

A new framework that allows highway departments to replenish their stocks of de-icing salt at discounted summer prices has been launched by ESPO. 

Unlike some salt supply agreements, ESPO’s new framework has been awarded with all three main UK salt mines and a selection of importers, to ensure beneficial price competition and resilience of supply for buyers.

ESPO’s new agreement continues the supply of brown rock salt to British Standard (BS3247:2011)  ?  the most popular product on the buying organisation’s previous agreement – while offering buyers a wider range of associated de-icing products and services.

Buyers who order brown rock salt in bulk during the summer period, which runs from May to September each year, will pay less per tonne, instead of ordering during the winter period (October to April).

Despite another mild winter in 2015/16, stocks of salt used to de-ice motorways and major roads already have been partially depleted from precautionary gritting activity related to ground frosts which hit some areas of the country.

This unpredictable weather has further sharpened the focus on authorities’ salt supply resilience, after the very cold winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11, which saw the government forced to intervene to centrally manage supplies. Many winter service managers may have to restock to full capacity to be ready for the worst winter weather in the future.

To help buyers ensure greater resilience of supplies in such fluctuating weather conditions, ESPO’s framework gives authorities the option of appointing a secondary supplier of bulk white salt, selected from a pre-approved network of importers. The new agreement also offers bagged salt in 25kg or one tonne bags at very competitive prices, providing flexibility to those authorities requiring smaller salt quantities for areas where bulk supplies cannot be used.

To effectively treat areas such as bridges where salt spreading may not be appropriate, ESPO’s agreement also provides a range of de-icing chemicals in liquid or granular form, including potassium acetate, magnesium chloride, sodium formate and more.

Further reducing highways departments’ risk, all suppliers listed on the new salt framework have been assessed and approved by ESPO during the procurement process for their financial stability, track record, experience and technical & professional ability.

Gary Ford, procurement service manager, place & environment, ESPO, said: “Our new framework gives buyers access to a comprehensive range of de-icing products from the key players in the market at very competitive prices.

“ESPO has done all the procurement and compliance legwork in advance, saving our customers time and money. Should severe winter weather strike again, the framework is on hand for all authorities’ de-icing needs, using the secure and resilient supply network we have established.”

The new salt framework follows on from ESPO’s previous successful frameworks for salt and associated products, which saw over one million tonnes of bulk salt supplied to local government and partner organisations over the last 10 years. Current customers using the framework include over 30 local authorities and Highways England.
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