Its just another COVID impact that nobody saw coming. Without concrete there would be almost no construction anywhere, and Concrete Ontario, representing ready-mix concrete suppliers in the province is warning contractors that ready-mix concrete and cement shortages are likely this fall because of COVID-19.
In a bulletin, the association says pressures from the pandemic will “likely continue to impact the supply of concrete for the foreseeable future.”
“To mitigate the potential effects of shortages and service interruptions, everyone in the supply chain should significantly advance their planning and preparation to ensure a stable supply of concrete and their ability to meet the increased demand,” the notice says.
Concrete Ontario says ready-mix producers’ “well-established business processes, systems and facilities are under increased strain” because:
The economic shutdown in the spring and early summer, as well as the restrictions of the emergency orders, placed unusual pressure on supply chains and cement inventories;
Because of business’s seasonal nature, there is traditionally a rush on concrete supplies as contractors try to get projects going before the freeze.
Pent-up demand as a result of jobsites that were deemed non-essential having to postpone their projects, leading to an unexpected increase and resurgence in construction activity, causing record high demand for concrete. Favourable fall weather conditions, such as mild temperatures and long periods without rain, have created ideal concreting conditions which impede the cement industry’s ability to replenish their inventory.
Concrete Ontario advises ready-mix producers to advise clients that they should plan their orders well in advance – and place orders seven to days ahead of scheduled pour dates to deal with the shortages of cement, slag and concrete.
Producers should “establish and communicate realistic timelines to manage customer expectations so you can continue to supply your customer projects with minimum delays,” Concrete Ontario says.