Russian ban on Ukrainian salt challenges supply

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

The cost of shipping salt from other countries is still an issue, says director-general of the Ukrainian supplier Artyomsol
The cost of shipping salt from other countries is still an issue, says director-general of the Ukrainian supplier Artyomsol

Related tags: Russia

Russian sanctions have affected its salt supplies after it banned imports from state-run Ukrainian firm Artyomsol, which previously accounted for 24% of the market.

Acting director-general of Artyomsol, Denis Fomenko, told news agency Interfax-Ukraine that he was “trying not to politicise the issue, because we deal exclusively with business”, ​but predicted that Russian salt supply could be in real difficulty if the market remains closed to Ukrainian imports at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, other countries are stepping into the breach, with Russian media reports saying the shortfall could be picked up by imports from Turkey and Belarus.

However, Fomenko said: “Neither the Belarusian salt nor the Turkish can replace our salt because there is still a question of logistics. You can bring salt from Turkey to Russia but you know how much shipping with cost.”

Israeli company Salt of the Earth claims to have skirted at least part of the problem by establishing an exclusive distribution partnership with TDS Russia back in 2013, which allows it to package its products in Russia, thereby reducing packaging costs. It also carried out market research in 2012 into previous providers’ salt products and prices.

“The results of the research allowed us to determine the main markets in Russia and develop cost-effective transportation solutions in order to provide the Russian market with high quality salt and salt ingredients,” ​said the company’s export manager Avi Freund.

CEO of TDS Russia Pavel Bogolyubov added: “TDS Russia also identified niche markets in the Moscow area, helping sales increase 25% in 2013. Moreover, expanded marketing to East Russia in 2014 led to a 20% increase in sales in 2014.”

Freund said Salt of the Earth had also benefited from the Russian embargo on European food and ingredients.

“We intend to introduce our new, innovative premium salt line to the retail market in Moscow, plus we expect further growth in both retail channels and of sodium reduction solutions to continue throughout the coming year,”​ he said.

The company now also supplies salt to tuna and salmon processing plants in the far east of Russia, it said.

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