Over 150 delegates are attending a two day workshop at the Omni Grand Hotel, San Diego, California. With the theme: Cement shortages - a temporary or long term problem, the stage has been set for some interesting discussions centred around the US market in 2004 and beyond.
Ed Sullivan, Chief Economist with the US Portland Cement Association gave the keynote presentation: Shortage dynamics - critical factors, in which he looked at the supply and demand situation, import levels and freight markets, taking the view that higher than expected demand levels and freight market dynamics, coupled with the subsequent shortage of tonnage brought about tight supplies in many US regions coupled with higher prices.
Looking ahead, Ed Sullivan remains bullish over sustained US cement demand levels, citing stronger economic conditions and opportunities in non-residential and public construction sectors for additional cement usage.
Although some US domestic capacity expansion projects should kick-in by 2006 and again in 2008,
Sullivan believes higher cement import volumes will be needed to match projected demand levels. Thus imports in 2006 could be as much as 28.4Mt compared to 26.2Mt this year. However with new capacity and plant upgrade work expected to contribute almost 9Mt of extra production by 2008, total imports should drop back to the 27Mt mark in 2008.