Market Intelligence

Asphalt Prices Show Negligible Change Amid Declining Oil Prices

Asphalt PPI Vs. Oil PricesDespite the depressed level of oil prices and the historical relationships between oil and asphalt price changes, asphalt prices reached a new record high in December. Indeed, since June of 2014, oil prices declined 52 percent, but during the same time, asphalt prices decreased just 0.4 percent with only a slight regress since the end of 2014.

The cement and concrete industry was concerned that as oil prices decay, concrete’s relative price position against asphalt would erode. Given the historical correlation between oil price changes and asphalt price changes, PCA estimated that the initial cost breakeven point for urban roadways is $76.5 per barrel of oil. PCA approximates the life-cycle breakeven point at $71 per barrel. However, asphalt’s cost has not responded as expected.

Asphalt paved roads should have regained a competitive advantage over concrete pavement on both an initial bid and life-cycle cost basis. Unfortunately, for strapped state department of transportation budgets, declines in oil prices appear to have a much weaker correlation to declines in asphalt prices. In recent years leading up to the oil price collapse, asphalt prices declined 2 percent for every 10 percent decline in oil prices compared to an increase of 7 percent for asphalt relative to 10 percent growth in oil prices.

This may be explained by the impact of the increased introduction of cokers at oil refineries, which reduce or eliminate bitumen or liquid asphalt production. This could result in substantive reductions in asphalt supply at a time when cycle demand is increasing. In such an environment, the market dynamics could mask the lower input cost typically associated with low oil prices.

Contact Ed Sullivan

Member News

Essroc, Continental Acquire New Facilities

Essroc Italcementi Group recently signed an agreement with Holcim to purchase its slag cement grinding facility in Camden, New Jersey. As part of the transaction, Essroc will also obtain a cement terminal in Everett, Massachusetts. The facility can produce upwards of 700,000 metric tons of slag cement annually. Essroc currently produces slag cement at its Picton, Ontario, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, cement plants and at its slag grinding facility in Middlebranch, Ohio.

"The acquisition of the Camden slag grinding facility reiterates Essroc’s commitment to the northeast market,” said Francesco Carantani, Essroc president and chief executive officer. “With the focus on sustainability and durability, there is a projected growth in the demand and usage of slag cement.”

Also last week, Summit Materials, which owns Continental Cement, announced an agreement with Lafarge North America to purchase its cement plant in Davenport, Iowa, as well as a terminal in Bettendorf, Iowa. The plant has a 1.2 million ton capacity.

Summit CEO Tom Hill, commented, “The Davenport assets are an excellent fit with our materials-based growth strategy, and a continuation of Summit’s proven track record of value-added acquisitions. We are looking forward to welcoming the Davenport plant and terminal employees to Summit, and to servicing new and existing customers with high quality product from our expanded cement operations.”

The acquisitions will finalize when the pending Holcim and Lafarge merger completes later this year.


Pavement Sustainability Reference Document, Webinars Available

The Federal Highway Administration recently announced the availability of a new technical reference document and five webinars on pavement sustainability, designed to increase the awareness, visibility, and the body of knowledge of sustainable considerations in all phases of the pavement life cycle.

Towards Sustainable Pavement Systems: A Reference Document targets state departments of transportation practitioners and other key stakeholders in the pavement community including design engineers, materials engineers, maintenance and construction engineers, academia, local roadway agencies, suppliers and producers, contractors and consultants, and public interest groups.

The main concepts covered include sustainable materials, design of sustainable pavements, sustainable construction practices, sustainable maintenance and preservation, considerations for sustainability while the pavement is in use, sustainable end-of-life considerations, pavements as part of sustainable communities, and assessment of pavement sustainability.

Registration is also now available for five free webinars to further address important issues to the implementation and promotion of pavement sustainability.

The FHWA Sustainable Paving Task Group, as part of the FHWA Sustainable Pavements Program, developed the materials. Industry representation on the FHWA Sustainable Paving Task Group includes PCA members and staff, the American Concrete Pavement Association, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, and the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub. 

Contact David Shepherd

Codes and Standards

New York Adopts PCA 100-2012

The New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code is adopting PCA 100-2012, Prescriptive Design of Exterior Concrete Walls for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, to simplify the design of residential and small commercial structures using removable forms and stay-in-place insulating concrete forms. The standard provisions apply to the design and construction of concrete footings, foundation walls and above-grade walls, both load bearing and non-load bearing, for:

  • detached one- and two-family dwellings,
  • multiple dwellings, and
  • one-story buildings of other occupancy groups assigned to Seismic Design Category A

A free copy of PCA 100-12 and its companion Excel spreadsheet that automates table look-ups within the standard can be downloaded from the PCA Bookstore.

Contact Jamie Farny

Regional News

FDR with Cement Use Grows in New Jersey

Through solid promotion and perseverance awareness and use of full depth reclamation (FDR) with cement is growing in New Jersey.

The state DOT completed its first-ever FDR with cement project, shoulders for Route 72, in June 2014.

Based on the performance and economic success of this project, New Jersey DOT plans to continue using the cost-saving process in 2015 with shoulders on Route 55. In addition, many towns in the state have used FDR with cement for their roads. Howell, New Jersey, completed Phase 3 of a multi-year program last fall.

In 2014, 13 projects were completed. This is a 52 percent increase compared to the previous year, with several town engineers using FDR with cement multiple times. The market will continue to grow as more towns and their consulting engineers become aware of the process.

Ken Justice, PCA Northeast promotion director for New Jersey and Delaware, worked closely with the state on the design and specifications and served as a resource for several municipalities.

Contact Pat Reardon or Ken Justice


CTLGroup Announces Promotions

CTLGroup announced several senior leadership promotions last week: Dr. Timothy Tonyan, PhD, from senior vice president to chief operating officer; Paul Haglund, from vice president-finance to chief financial officer, and Richard Kaczkowski, SE, PE, from senior principal engineer and group manager to vice president and group manager.

These realignments will foster even greater coordination among operational and support functions, improve our collective focus on key opportunities and challenges, and further our progress toward accomplishing our strategic objectives,” said Dr. Brent Nixon, PhD, PE, CTLGroup president and CEO.

Tonyan-242009-213Dr. Tonyan has more than 30 years of experience in consulting and research of building materials and building systems performance, and construction project management throughout the globe. As chief operating officer, he has direct leadership responsibility for firm-wide client development, project management, and expert leadership promotion.

Haglund 242006-047Haglund is an accomplished financial executive with global experience in the management of engineering and architecture firms for more than 25 years. He specializes in strategic planning, financial planning and reporting, cost accounting, accounting systems, risk management and organizational development. As the chief financial officer, Haglund is responsible for the management of CTLGroup's financial system, planning and performance analysis, budget and audit processes.

Kaczkowski 242006-228Kaczkowski has more than 30 years of professional experience encompassing construction problem investigation, building envelope leakage assessment, field and laboratory testing, repair design, structural and high temperature performance analysis, code compliance evaluation, project management, construction product development and intellectual property consulting. He is a licensed Professional/Structural Engineer in 20 states.

Regional News

Roller-Compacted Concrete Paves Kentucky Truck Facility

RCC_Truck_Lot_LouisvilleM&M Cartage of Louisville, Kentucky, recently paved its 11-acre heavy truck facility with roller-compacted concrete. Heavy trucking facilities are ideal applications for roller-contracted concrete because of its strength, surface durability, low maintenance, and competitive initial costs.

M&M Cartage has a fleet of trucks each of which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds loaded. In addition to the strength requirement for these loads, it needed surface durability for turning and punch loads of parked semis. The company also wanted to be environmentally conscious. 

“RCC is a rigid pavement much more durable and longer lasting than HMA (hot mix asphalt) pavement of the same depth,” said Paul Kemper, co-owner of Kemper Construction. “Also, it is a light colored pavement that is environmentally friendly, especially in urban areas. Concrete contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and therefore does not emit toxins. It does not require a surface sealer, and the surface temperature of concrete reduces the urban heat island effect.”

The lot also includes LED lighting and a compressed natural gas facility.

RCC has been widely used in heavy duty paving applications in ports and intermodal facilities across the nation, particularly in the Southeast, and is gaining a foothold in Kentucky.

Read more about the project.

Contact Roger Faulkner

Education & Training

Call for Papers: 11th International Conference on Concrete Pavements

Letters of intent/abstracts are due April 30, 2015, for the 11th International Conference on Concrete Pavements (11th ICCP). The conference will be held August 28-31, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas.

The conference presents information on new technologies related to design, construction and rehabilitation of various concrete pavements. Held every four years, the conference carries on the tradition of a series of international conferences begun by Purdue University – now organized by the International Society for Concrete Pavements.

It is targeted for pavement, materials, and geotechnical engineering professionals who are involved in any aspect of concrete pavement design, construction, testing, evaluation, and rehabilitation including:

  • Federal, state, provincial and municipal engineers
  • Consulting engineers
  • Contractors
  • Material suppliers
  • Academia

For additional information, go to

Contact Steve Kosmatka

Register Today for the Professors’ Workshop

APP-PROF15Concrete materials properties, engineering and economics of concrete structures, and design, construction, and performance of concrete pavements are the topics scheduled for the PCA Education Foundation Professors’ Workshop, July 20-24, 2015.

Held at the PCA office in Skokie, Illinois, the workshop provides faculty in engineering, architecture, and construction management the tools to teach the latest developments in concrete design, construction, and materials. Networking opportunities to exchange ideas with professors from many universities, demonstrations by software vendors, and more than $2,500 of free resource materials are also part of the week.

The workshop fee of $395 includes all handout materials, resource literature, shipping, lunches, receptions, and a dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Skokie.

See the PCA website for registration and the activities.

Contact Michelle Wilson