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A year of tempered market expectations, bigger multinationals, taller wood buildings

Three developments tracked since January stand out at year’s end: 1) overall concrete shipments did not pace projected level; 2) among global operators, the annual revenue bar for cement, aggregate and ready mixed concrete shipments is moving from the $10 billion–$15 billion to $15 billion–$20 billion range, with the top players deriving about 20–25 percent of sales in North America; and, 3) U.S. and Canadian wood interests’ multi-story building market pursuits are reverberating among ready mixed and manufactured-concrete producers.

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A little dirt on the Clean Power Plan

Environmental Protection Agency aggression fostered an unlikely contingent seeking federal court relief: The American Iron & Steel Institute and American Wood Council joined Portland Cement Association, Brick Industry Association, National Lime Association and 13 other business or industry groups late last month in a National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) legal effort to stop implementation of the Clean Power Plan. Through it, the EPA seeks sharp reductions in carbon dioxide emissions—32 percent by 2030 against 2005 level baseline—from utilities and energy-intensive operations.

Read more: A little dirt on the Clean Power Plan