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National cement shortage impacting Alabama

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The construction industry is being hit hard by a nationwide cement shortage.

Officials with the Alabama Concrete Industries Association said Alabama saw a 14% increase in the demand for concrete last year, but the cement shortage might cause some projects to be delayed.

“You cant just order concrete today and think you’ll get it next week,” President of Alabama Concrete Industries Association John Sorrell said. “As soon as cement is made in the mills right now, it is going right into the tankers to be shipped to the ready mix trucks.”

Sorrell said there was high demand for concrete in the winter months, which is usually when plants stock up inventory. During spring months, Alabama’s five cement plants have to shut down for routine maintenance and Sorrell said it’s all adding to the shortage.

“That is affecting everything from the home builder building a slab for a new home, to the commercial contractor building an Amazon, to the guy who is building a bridge or pouring a safety barrier. Those projects cant get the supplies they need to be able to build as quickly as the contractor would like to.”

Sorrell said contractors are already waiting two to three weeks for some shipments because of the nationwide truck driver shortage. He said they expect that to just get worse now that there is also a cement supply issue.

“We sent a letter out recently to contractors and to road builders saying ‘please understand there will be some slow downs, but we will supply you as quickly as possible’,” he said.

Sorrell said while slow downs to road projects, commercial and residential real estate projects will likely happen, it shouldn’t last long enough to cancel your next home improvement plans.

“Plan accordingly,” Sorrell said. “If you want to pour that new extension in your driveway, or put up a basketball goal, just know you can’t get it tomorrow.”

Officials with the Road Builder’s Association said they are waiting on truck deliveries for two to three weeks and now with the cement shortage, they think it will be around four to six weeks.

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