ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA Cement shortage feared after Katrina

Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC, has expressed concern about cement shortages in the coming year due to Hurricane Katrina. “The New Orleans customs district led the nation with 12 percent of total imports, which accounted for more than three percent of the nation’s cement shipments during the first six months of 2005,” Simonson noted. “Therefore, cement shortages are expected to worsen in some of the 32 states that were already experiencing shortages and spread to new states. Cement prices are likely to rise even more steeply than the 12.7 percent increase that occurred between August 2004 and August 2005.” AGC in mid-September sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce urging that the Bush administration provide an immediate suspension of the anti-dumping duty on Mexican cement and allow imports of cement from all countries without duties or quotas in light of the emergency created by Hurricane Katrina. “In light of the lost supply, it is imperative that other supply sources be made available as soon as possible,” Simonson said. “Without it, construction projects and manufacture of concrete products in many states will have to halt, potentially laying off thousands of workers. Moreover, vital infrastructure repairs and reconstruction in the hurricane zone could be imperiled. One alternative is to import cement from Mexico by barge to all of the Gulf states and by rail into the Southwest. Such cement could arrive more promptly than cement from most of the current leading sources of imports, such as South Korea, China or Greece. But the current 55 percent anti-dumping duty makes Mexican cement prohibitively expensive.”

Got more questions about your project?

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpeg, jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.
      Allowed formats: jpeg, jpg, gif, png, pdf
    • How would you like us to respond?

    • Note: Some questions will be published anonymously with their answers at the end of this story to share with other readers.