A shortage of cement imports and tight domestic supplies are forcing Delaware concrete manufacturers and suppliers to cut back on work hours and raise prices. The strong US housing market has domestic cement companies around the country working at full capacity. In the past, these companies have relied on imports to fill the gap between supply and demand. But this year import supplied have slowed As a result, Delaware is one of 35 states reporting cement shortages, leaving concrete makers and, ultimately, building contractors scrambling.
The limited supply also has led to an increase in cement prices - and ultimately concrete prices. The average price of cement in 20 US cities in November was US$86 a ton, up 0.7 percent from October and 3.5 per cent higher than last year, according to Engineering News-Journal, a trade publication that tracks construction material prices. Meanwhile, regional cement suppliers have raised the price of cement twice this year and plan to do so again in January, bringing the total increase for the year to $13 a ton.