What is the World’s Most Commonly Used Construction Material?

Cement: The powder substance used to make concrete.

Why Does Concrete Matter?

Concrete is practically everywhere. Our infrastructure relies on it. It’s found in our streets and highways, garages and homes, bridges and buildings, stadiums and ballparks. In fact, Tim Becken, senior vice president, Cemstone, says concrete is the second most consumed product next to water.

Why Ship Cement on the Mississippi?

First and foremost, we don’t have the rock in the ground needed to make cement in Minnesota. It comes from places farther south, including Iowa and Missouri. Some years, it even comes from places as far away as Europe and Asia.

The second reason is simple economics. River shipping costs less.

Here is an example that is commonly used in the shipping industry.

If you had to ship 1 ton of product with 1 gallon of gas, how far would you go?

If shipping by truck: 150 miles

If shipping by train: 477 miles

If shipping by barge: 640 miles

Less fuel=lower cost. If barge shipping was not an option, concrete (and all products that rely on concrete) would increase in cost.

To learn more about how concrete is made, go to http://www.cement.org/cement-concrete-basics.