Peak construction season ‘cement crisis’… Concerns about closures focused on sites in the metropolitan area

Spring is the construction industry’s peak season, but as cement production declines, concerns about the supply of cement to construction sites in Gyeonggi-do are growing. On the afternoon of the 2nd, a precast concrete vehicle is parked near a cement factory in Hwaseong. 2023.4.2 / Reporter Lim Yeol-su

As cement production declines in spring, the peak season for construction, there are growing concerns about a cement supply crisis for construction sites in Gyeonggi-do. Although the inventory of each cement company is only half of the target, the demand for cement continues to increase, and there is even a warning that a ‘shut down’ situation could occur on the construction site. There are already situations where construction work is stopped or delayed due to cement supply problems, especially on construction sites in the metropolitan area.

According to the cement industry on the 2nd, cumulative cement shipments in January and February reached 7 million tons, an increase of more than 15% from the previous year. It is analyzed that this is due to the fact that the amount carried over following the cargo union general strike last year and the fact that demand increased during the peak construction season have been combined. However, the construction industry claims that the production volume does not reach that level.

It is noted that cement companies are converting manufacturing facilities into eco-friendly facilities and undertaking kiln (kiln) repairs to become carbon neutral. In general, a lot of carbon is emitted when raw materials are heated with bituminous coal in the cement manufacturing process. For this reason, the government is encouraging all cement companies to replace existing manufacturing facilities with environmentally friendly ones.

As a result, all cement companies take turns to replace manufacturing facilities, which usually takes about 5 to 6 months. Cement supply will inevitably decrease during this period.

In addition, cement companies carry out kiln maintenance every year, and since the work period takes about 1-2 months, they build up cement inventory in advance. However, the industry explained that it was unable to secure sufficient cement stock due to the cargo union’s general strike at the end of last year. For this reason, the industry claims that cement inventory last month was 600,000 tonnes, half the normal level (1.2 million tonnes).

Last year’s general strike carried over and the effect of the increase in demand
Eco-friendly facilities and overlapping production volume repair↓
Building Society, the government needs special measures

As the red light is turned on for production, concerns about supply disruptions are growing at construction sites and the concrete industry in the province.

An official from the Gyeonggi-do Concrete Industry Cooperative complained, “The amount of cement normally purchased by the cooperative is around 320,000 tons per year. However, this year, it is expected to fall below 300,000 tons, which will disrupt concrete production . products.” .

An official from a construction site in the province also complained, “We are significantly increasing the amount of cement to speed up the construction phase during the spring peak season, but the supply is insufficient. If this continues, maybe that construction sites will be shut down in the first half of the year.”

Voices are growing that the government should come up with special measures before construction sites are closed on a large scale. According to a survey conducted by the Korea Construction Association of medium and large companies within the top 100, construction work of 98 out of 154, or 63.6%, has been stopped or delayed due to unstable cement supply and demand since March. .

The association said, “Cement supply shortages are deepening, focusing on construction sites in the metropolitan area.” An official from a cement company also said, “The government needs to step in and adjust the kiln maintenance schedule to increase supply.”

Regarding this, the government explained that it was true that there were supply disruptions in some regions, but that the overall production was not decreasing.

On the 31st of last month, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said, “As a result of checking the cement supply and demand trend, it is estimated that there has been a disruption in the cement supply in some areas.” We intend to closely identify the supply and demand trends and respond accordingly.” → 12 related articles

/ Reporter Seo Seung-taek


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