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Originally Posted On: Chlorine Price Increase: Chlorine Shortage — Silver State Pool Service
Is there a chlorine supply shortage?
The short answer is yes. A confluence of events has caused a chlorine shortage in the pool industry. Now, it seems inevitable that an increase in chlorine price is coming next.
And it may already be happening. Some pool retailers are reporting a 30 to 40 percent increase in the price of TriChlor. TriChlor is the brand of chlorine tablets produced by BioLab.
Unfortunately, the BioLab plant in Westlake, Lousiana, suffered a massive fire last August 2020.
While the fire isn’t the only cause of the short supply, it had a tremendous impact. How did this all happen? Let’s look at the circumstances that led to the chlorine shortage and what it means for pool owners.
Effect of the Pandemic
Everyone is aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned businesses around the globe upside down. While it’s a blessing that pool services have been deemed essential, you can’t say the same for manufacturing and shipping companies.
Here’s how the pandemic affected the swimming pool industry and the supply of chlorine.
With everyone urged to stay at home, it’s no surprise that the demand reached an all-time high for residential pools. That demand extends to everything that goes with pool maintenance and installation. And yes, that includes chlorine, which is still the most popular pool sanitizer.
While swimming pool companies embraced this boost in sales, it’s regrettable that the supply couldn’t keep up with the demand.
Manufacturing and Shipping Woes
The pandemic has put a stranglehold on manufacturing businesses globally. Items that aren’t deemed essential were relegated to the back of the line. Basically, production has slowed for anything that isn’t PPE, face mask, or hand sanitizers.
And while it’s understandable to establish stricter safety protocols, that caused delays in every level of the supply chain. Shipping companies took a big hit and raised their prices consequently. Shipments ran behind schedule, especially with the closing of some ports due to COVID-19.
How the BioLab Fire Compounded the Chlorine Price Increase
From basic economics, you know that high demand and low supply would eventually increase the price. The pandemic already had a significant influence on the cost of pool chlorine.
But now, something even more absurd happened.
In August 2020, Hurricane Laura struck the BioLab plant in Westlake, La., causing a conflagration that lasted for three days. While no locals were harmed, thankfully, this wasn’t the case for their chlorine inventory.
BioLab isn’t your run-of-the-mill chemical factory. One of their products is TriChlor, a famous brand of chlorine tablets. They hold 40 percent of the chlorine tablet market in the US.
The parent company, KIK corp, is also the leading supplier of bleach and laundry products (which also contain chlorine). Resources are getting diverted to household disinfectant products due to high demand.
Right now, the prospect of seeing the price of pool chlorine products drop seems bleak.
As a Pool Owner, How Does It Affect You?
All signs point to an increase in chlorine price. If you own a pool that uses chlorine tablets for sanitation, you should also expect a surge in service and maintenance rates from pool companies.
Don’t despair. Chlorine isn’t the only way to keep your pool clean and healthy to swim in. If you’re looking for alternatives to chlorine, we can offer a solution. Contact us today!