PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Bad weather and poor road conditions contributed to delays in getting salt to some New England communities after last month's blizzard.
Towns outside Boston that order from Portsmouth's salt pile owned by International Salt have reported back orders as large as 1,400 tons.
Melrose, Mass., received 800 tons of salt last week to make up for missing orders that led officials there to mix sand with salt after the storms. Melrose buys from International Salt as well as Eastern Salt, in Chelsea, Mass.
''We were never at any point where we had to shut down completely, but we had to be very conservative for about a week," said John Scenna, operations director for the Melrose Department of Public Works.
International Salt has a license with the Pease Development Authority to operate a salt pile at the Port of New Hampshire. It is one of three piles in the Portsmouth area: Granite State Minerals has another pile on Market Street, and Morton Salt operates a pile in Newington.
Port users must be licensed by the state Division of Ports and Harbors, which is under the jurisdiction of the development authority. Officials blamed the delay on several factors, including bad weather offshore that stalled ships carrying salt from South America, and high demand that put pressure on salt companies' ability to make deliveries.
Robert Jones, chief executive officer for International Salt, said some ships were delayed during trips from the company's mines in Chile because of bad weather in the North Atlantic. Deliveries were also delayed by icy roads and by a high demand during the storms from small communities that lack reserves, Jones said.