Chemical supply hitches hit accelerator, MRWR, strength-enhancing admixtures

Source: CP staff

Domestic and overseas chemical processors and distributors indicate potential price increases in the 40-75 percent range for sodium thiocyanate (NaSCN), a key compound concrete admixture producers use in non-chloride set accelerators, mid-range water reducers and strength-enhancing agents. 

Reports from raw material sources paint a perfect storm of processing and shipping factors that will likely limit NaSCN availability through at least mid-2021, driving prices for the three admixture classes north. The white powder is typically derived from raw feeds including ammonium thiocyanate, the availability of which has been hit with a one-two punch: 1) production of the compound has diminished as plant operators in a principal market, petroleum coking, turn to alternative catalysts to abide tightening emissions regulations; and, 2) ammonium thiocyanate has found widespread use in Covid-19 testing. On top of upstream complications, overseas NaSCN suppliers are contending with shipping container shortages across Pacific Rim markets, plus difficulty piggybacking in available container space due to product handling and hazardous material designation.

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