Dear SCM Employees and Partners,
The Ready-Mix concrete industry in the Southeast is experiencing unprecedented challenges when it comes to maintaining a sufficient flow of raw materials to produce concrete to meet current demand. At the same time, the cost of obtaining these limited supplies is increasing beyond what we could have imagined just two years ago. This situation has become exacerbated by diesel fuel prices escalating off the charts, and many failures in the logistical networks that traditionally provide transportation services to our industry, including a major depletion in available commercial drivers along with disruptions in rail services and ships-to-port operations.
At the top of the list of raw material shortfalls for 2022 is Portland Cement. Portland Cement is manufactured only in specific regions, domestically and abroad, where the basic natural minerals are closest to the earth’s surface and can be most efficiently extracted. At a certain stage of cement production, the unfinished product can be transported by rail or by ship to other cement mills for finishing into the final product. The finished product can also be shipped, railed, and trucked great distances. Due to numerous failures throughout the cement supply chain this year, most all cement companies have been allocating cement on a weekly basis. SCM has several great cement suppliers and yet, we are not immune to these restrictions. Another burdensome development, to intensify the cement shortfall, is coal industry regulations that now require many power plants to move away from the use of coal to other energy sources therefore, limiting the supply of usable Fly Ash to Ready-Mix producers. The inclusion of Fly Ash in concrete mixtures can reduce the otherwise required amount of cement.
Just as our cement suppliers work hard every day to treat us fairly, we strive to do the same for our customers who, at the moment, are in need of more product than we can provide. It is frustrating to be limited beyond control when it comes to serving customer needs. We are working every day to seek out relief measures to mitigate this situation and certainly appreciate your patience and understanding when scheduling concrete deliveries.