Construction peak season ‘cement crisis’… Concerns about shutdown centered on sites in the metropolitan area

Spring is the peak season for the construction industry, but as cement production declines, concerns over cement supply to construction sites in Gyeonggi-do are growing. On the afternoon of the 2nd, a ready-mixed 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 to construction sites in Gyeonggi-do. Although the inventory of each cement company is only half of the target, demand for cement continues to increase, and there is even a warning that a ‘shutdown’ situation at the construction site may occur. There are already situations in which construction is suspended or delayed due to cement supply problems, especially at 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 quantity carried over in the aftermath of the general strike of the cargo union last year and the fact that demand increased during the peak construction season were combined. However, the construction industry claims that the production volume does not reach that level.

It is pointed out that cement companies are converting manufacturing facilities into eco-friendly facilities and carrying out kiln (kiln) repair work 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 each cement company to replace existing manufacturing facilities with eco-friendly ones.

As a result, each cement company takes turns replacing 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 not able to secure enough cement stock due to the general strike of the cargo union at the end of last year. For this reason, the industry claims that cement inventory last month was 600,000 tons, half of the normal level (1.2 million tons).

Last year’s general strike carried over and the impact of increased demand
Eco-friendly facilities and repair overlapping production volume↓
Construction Association, government needs special measures

As the red light is turned on in production, concerns about a supply crisis are rising at construction sites and the concrete industry in the province.

An official from the Gyeonggi-do Concrete Industry Cooperative complained, “The amount of cement that the union purchases is usually around 320,000 tons per year. .

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

Voices are growing that the government should come up with special measures before a large-scale shutdown of construction sites occurs. According to a survey conducted by the Construction Association of Korea on mid- and large-sized companies within the top 100, 98 out of 154 sites, or 63.6%, have had their construction halted or delayed due to unstable cement supply and demand since March.

The association said, “Cement supply shortages are deepening, centering 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 did not decrease.

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

/ Reporter Seo Seung-taek

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