Rock Products

FEB 2019

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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28 • ROCK products • February 2019 A s 2018 became 2019, one big issue was the govern- ment shutdown. What is the possible upstream impact on the economy? What does this mean for the construction economy? What will that in turn mean for the aggregates Industry? No one has a good answer to that, however, there was some movement on an infrastructure bill. Reuters reported that 20 high-ranking Trump administration officials met with the president to discuss a potential infrastructure plan. Accord- ing to reporters David Shepardson and Alexandra Alper, "the administration is considering a 13-year program but has not settled on key issues, including whether it will propose new ways to pay for increased spending." The 13-year aspect would mirror the longest ever highway funding bill, from 1957 to 1969. This month, we share the results of our sixth annual, exclu- sive Rock Products survey, Benchmark 2019. This survey not only offers the opportunity to gauge current producer opin- ion, we can also compare to previous years to see what is the same and what is different. So who took the survey this year? A typical survey respon- dent was, on average, an officer, executive owner or partner (37 percent); or a production manager, foreman or technical superintendent (20 percent.) More company officers, exec- utives, owners or partners took part in the survey than in years past. Sales executives, geologists, safety directors and others also participated in the survey. What types of operations are reflected by this year's survey respondents? Operations cranking out up to 500,000 tpy (43 percent) were highly represented, up from 40 percent last year. Plants producing more than 2.5 million tpy (24 percent) came next. Plants producing 500,000 to 1 million tpy (19 percent) followed and plants producing 1.5 to 2.5 million tpy (11 percent) brought up the rear. The number of survey participants from producers of both crushed stone, and sand and gravel increased this year (50 percent), way up from last year (38 percent), but producers of crushed stone only decreased (18 percent} from last year (23 percent). Producers of sand and gravel only were at 9 percent. Producers of specialty minerals and frac sand made up more than 13 percent of respondents. Geographic location was dominated by the, Southeast, Northeast and Midwest, in that order, with additional strong response coming from the Southwest. Big Issues When it comes to the key issues facing aggregates producers, the big "number-one" identified by survey participants this year is environmental regulation, which came in at number two last year. Tied for second are the construction economy and labor, which tracks exactly with what has been widely reported for the past year, given concerns about a new transportation bill and the lack of qualified workers available to aggregates operations. Permitting, the transportation economy, and the national economy were also named by many respondents. Other concerns named in the survey with single answers ere weather, community complaints and market saturation. Benchmark Survey Benchmark 2019: An Exclusive Survey Rock Products ' Annual Survey on the Opinions, Concerns and Buying Intentions of Producers Reveals What is on the Industry's Collective Mind. By Mark S. Kuhar and Josephine Patterson Here are the top 15 main concerns of aggregates produc- ers who took our survey (respondents could pick multiple answers). 1. Environmental regulations, 44.58 percent. 2. Labor, 33.73 percent. 3. Construction economy, 33.73 percent. 4. Permitting, 32.53 percent. 5. Transportation Funding, 26.51 percent. 6. National economy, 25.30 percent. 7. Safety regulations (MSHA), 20.48 percent. 8. Energy costs, 15.66 percent. 9. Transportation, 14.46 percent. 10. Equipment capitalization, 12.05 percent. 11. Healthcare, 12.05 percent. 12. Trump Transportation Program Delays, 9.64 percent. 13. Liability costs (legal), 6.02 percent. 14. Insurance, 6.02 percent. 15. Credit, 4.82 percent.

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