Nation-wide shortage impacts concrete companies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Nation-wide shortage impacts concrete companies

August 27, 2004

Albany-   As concrete slides down a truck shoot today, the cost of this product is soaring. "We've experienced about a 35 percent price increase," explains AAA Concrete Products manager Don Barfield.

An essential ingredient used to make concrete is cement, and the availability of cement is scarce. "Of course when things get more scarce, price typically goes up," said Barfield.

United States cement suppliers have not been able to keep pace with the production of cement and have had to rely on imports from foreign countries. "This served us well until last year when China consumed 45 million metric tons of cement compared to the nine million in the United States. That's over five times as much as we've used," explained Barfield.

Barfield says his business has had a few scares. "We've been very close to being out of cement a time or two. We have not run out of cement," but others haven't been so lucky. Barfield says "There are people that have been out cement or have had to severely curtail their service and cut down to one, to two, three days of operation a week."

Concrete companies are hoping they soon see cement prices level out and an increase in availability. Barfield says "Probably September, October, November, We'll see this thing probably pass," which will pass on better prices to customers and more business for places like AAA Concrete.

Barfield says many shipment contracts are about to end in China, so more ships will be free to import to the U.S.

Posted by jennifer.hulsey@walb.com at 2:55 PM.