A breakdown in the plants of two major suppliers of cement in Western Canada earlier this year, combined with high demand from oil fields in Alberta, has led to shortages of cement. "They can’t manufacture it fast enough to keep up with demand," said Doug Taylor, owner of Taylor Concrete and Pumping in Saskatoon. "The demand in Alberta and British Columbia is unbelievable -- everybody is scrambling just to keep up."
Taylor said Lafarge Canada and Lehigh Inland Cement, two major suppliers of cement in Western Canada, had breakdowns in their plants earlier in the year. Damage done to the port of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina has also had an indirect effect on the market for cement, said Taylor. The cement shortage, compounded by price increases linked to price hikes for oil and gas, is slowing down construction work, he said.