Mexican asphalt shortage to delay 2014 road programme

Construction companies and asphalt distributors in Mexico have warned that the country is suffering a 20% shortage of the product which started in November 2013.

The failure from state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to provide enough asphalt could delay road maintenance projects by up to 30%.

Asphalt represents up to 60% of the value of such projects, according to national asphalt association AMAAC and construction sector chamber CMIC, so the shortage is a significant issue. Both organisations have warned that the 2014 road project agenda, 27% larger than the 2013 programme, will be affected by the asphalt shortage.

Pemex has justified the shortage saying it is producing a higher quality product and has assured AMAAC that supplies will be back to 100% in a couple of months to satisfy Mexico’s 2 million tonnes/year demand.

CMIC has asked Pemex to increase its asphalt production in response to the problem. On the other hand, it has been said that the shortage must be down to higher demand than usual, because production at the Salamanca refinery in Guanajuato is 40% higher than projected.

In February 2014, daily asphalt sales were 104% higher than a year ago, and it is possible that demand is inordinately high in the beginning of the year because several road projects have started. 

The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) alone has a budget for road projects in 2014 which is 27% larger than in 2013.

Asphalt for state, municipal and Capufe (federal government agency in charge of the construction of all toll roads and bridges in Mexico) road projects, as well as housing developments, has still yet to be demanded.

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