WINTER MAINTENANCE: Road salt sits in Maine port as N.J. supplies reach dangerous levels

Since vessel is not waving American flag, officials have been scrambling to get a federal waiver

February 18, 2014

If you have road salt coming in from overseas, make sure the ship is decked out in American wear.

New Jersey’s supply of the snow-fighting material is running dangerously low, and officials are now trying to free a 40,000-ton shipment of rock salt sitting at a port in Maine. Officials were trying to obtain a federal waiver of the 1920 Maritime Act requiring that a shipment arriving must be on a vessel sporting the U.S. flag. If a waiver cannot be obtained, New Jersey will have to send barges over to pick up the material. New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson said the closest U.S. vessel would require a month to deliver the shipment.

“We’ve been going back and forth with the feds for the last two days,” Simpson told 101.5 FM. “This is the kind of stuff we’re dealing with. Even government, the federal government, gets in the way.”

State Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick turned up the heat for more salt after receiving phone calls from mayors in his district reporting that their supply is nearly exhausted.