Online Rock Salt enjoyed a visit from the China Salt Federation, hopefully leading to prosperous relations between the two!

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Building relations between the U.K. and Chinese de-icing salt industries.

Staff of Online Rock Salt and delegates from China Salt Federation

Staff of Online Rock Salt and delegates from China Salt Federation

"A real chance to see how our industry works in other parts of the world!" Ian Mercer, M.D. of Online Rock Salt

On August 23rd 2012, Online Rock Salt was visited by representatives of the China Salt Federation, who had come to the UK for a holiday and to learn more about the UK de-icing salt industry. Online Rock Salt were more than happy to welcome them, particularly in light of Online Rock Salt's existing import contracts around the world. With six representatives of the China Salt Federation coming from varied parts of China, it took months of planning for such a large trip to come together, not withstanding the organisational efforts on the side of Online Rock Salt!

The purpose of the visit was to allow the representatives of the China Salt Federation to learn more about traditional and modern methods of salt production in the U.K. The production of salt is a worldwide industry, but some of the oldest salt production in the world is based in China, with archaeological evidence of salt production dated from over 5,000 years ago. With increasing globalisation, it is important that different countries share knowledge for increased global productivity. For example, U.K. salt mines extract salt using modern technology in ancient salt mines in Cheshire, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland; in China, the salt mines are flooded in the traditional manner.

After initial greetings were made, a very successful two-hour meeting subsequently took place. Despite speaking very little of each other’s language, a real connection was felt to have been made by both parties. The salt markets are also different in the U.K. and China, and the delegation were very interested to see the new range of de-icing salt spreaders that Online Rock Salt are introducing for sale, asking many questions about its use and popularity in the U.K. M.D. Ian Mercer also showed the delegation around the premises and the larger farm areas run by Online Rock Salt’s summer business, Online Turf. Although not strictly related to the core mission of the visit, it was still an interesting diversion, as turf harvesting isn’t a common industry in China – although perhaps after the visit, that may change!

The visit was organised by the Chinese European International Exchange Association, a Paris-based organisation, dedicated to brokering better understanding between China and Europe, in education and industry. Translation was provided by Tiam Niu, a M.A. student in Chinese conference translation, a new boom industry with the increasing business links between East and West in the 21st century.

“It was very enjoyable to meet the representatives of the China Salt Federation,” says Ian. “It was a real chance to see how our industry works in other parts of the world, as well as an opportunity to make new connections overseas. I think it was interesting too for my counterpart, Lin Jiahua – he’s invited me to Beijing, so perhaps we’ll get a chance to reciprocate the visit!”

Online Rock Salt has been busily preparing for the upcoming winter, and this visit heralds the start of concentrating on the winter aspect of the business. For more information, visit their website at http://www.onlinerocksalt.co.uk. More information on by the Chinese European International Exchange Association can be found at http://en.ceaie.edu.cn.

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Colleen Cheetham-Gerrard
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