U.S. cement manufacturers have ample production capacity to meet demand from infrastructure revitalization efforts the Trump Administration and Congress are contemplating, a Portland Cement Association analysis finds. The industry is operating at roughly 79 percent of capacity, estimated at 108 million metric tons per year; coupled with terminal storage and transfer capabilities, PCA estimates, it is capable of supplying more than 150 million metric tons annually.
Taking into account specific proposed infrastructure projects and known economic drivers—including projects aimed at restoring the nation’s highways, waterways, pipelines, runways and even a potential border wall—the association figures that the U.S. cement industry would have more than enough capacity to meet even the most challenging infrastructure revitalization program.
|GCC of America Pueblo plant|
“America’s infrastructure is built with cement and concrete because it has to be safe, resilient and long lasting,” says PCA CEO James Toscas. “Revitalizing it will require more cement and concrete, and America can be confident our industry is ready to meet the challenge. Cement companies have made significant investments to increase capacity, productivity, and energy efficiency. Those investments and innovations will pay off as the industry is called upon to support the infrastructure revival our country so desperately needs.”
After adding 1.3 million metric tons of capacity in 2016, domestic cement producers have announced expansion plans that could result in an additional 1.6 million metric tons of capacity by 2018.
Concurrent with the PCA plant census update, Slag Cement Association members reported a 12 percent year-over-year gain in 2016 shipments, totaling about 2.7 million tons. They credit the jump to construction activity amid an improving economy; concrete producers’ realization of the binding efficiencies the material brings; and, increased understanding of slag cement’s potential in concrete among design, specification and construction professionals.
CONGRESSIONAL CONCRETE CHAMPIONS
During the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association 2017 convention, the Government Affairs Committee recognized Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) with the inaugural NRMCA Congressional Concrete Champion Awards for their support of the industry. Rep. Hunter was honored in particular for leading Hours of Service 30-minute break rule and logbook exemptions in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015. In a brief appearance at the convention, staged in Las Vegas, he offered the Government Affairs Committee his take on Washington, D.C., as a confidante of President Donald Trump and House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure member.
Rep. Diaz-Balart was honored for championing the Government Affairs Committee’s resiliency and building codes efforts, most notably as Congressional Resilient Construction Caucus chair. Addressing the NRMCA Board of Directors, he praised the ready mixed concrete industry’s efforts to build stronger, more resilient structures in the face of natural disasters that he and his constituents experience in the Sunshine State.