According to Norman Seymore, CEO of the Chryso Southern Africa Group and vice-president of Chryso internationally, local concrete and cement additive suppliers are under severe production pressures due to the global shortage of many primary chemical industry raw materials essential to produce concrete and cement admixtures. This as demand soars in the revived post-Covid-19 environment internationally.
Chryso head office, Jet Park
Admixtures and additives – key components of the concrete mix - play a vital role in enhancing concrete performance in terms of strength, durability, material costs, as well as general site productivity. Chryso Southern Africa has three major plants (in Boksburg, Durban and Cape Town) producing admixtures and additives that service the cement, ready-mix concrete, precast concrete, new construction, and mining industries.
Seymore warned: “This crippling shortage of vital raw materials will not resolve itself overnight. In fact, we fear that the supply and cost constraints are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.”
Raw materials shortage caused by several factors
He said the severe shortage of raw materials was caused by a combination of several factors totally beyond Chryso’s control. Included are:
- Extremely cold weather conditions in the US in February this year, which caused production interruptions and force majeure setbacks for many players in the petrochemical industry;
- A severe industrial accident at a major chemical company in Europe which led to a chain of force majeure declarations, slowdowns, and even shutdowns of several chemical production units; and
- Scheduled maintenance shutdowns of several key chemical production units throughout the world which negatively impacted global raw material production capacity.
“The strong rebound in activity in several sectors of the global construction and ancillary industries since the beginning of 2021 has generated strong demand for key raw materials.
“The current raw material cost surge has no connection to the usual market indicators and mechanisms. Chryso is currently experiencing the consequences of this strong imbalance between supply and demand at a global level. However, we are doing everything possible to maintain continuity of supply of our products. But the situation will take some time to resolve and cost constraints are expected to continue for the foreseeable future,” Seymore added.