Asphalt Paving Trends
Asphalt paving and construction is expected to rebound in the 2013-2017 period after taking some hard hits since 2008’s housing market bubble burst. Producers and contractors suffered cutbacks as government-funded projects scaled back and the economy scrambled to recover.
According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, this is because of renewed interest in housing as the market begins to rebound. Homeowners are buying houses again, and this is good news for businesses that focus on residential areas and housing. Americans have started investing in homes again. As a result, there is an increase in home repair and renovation. The industry should expect increased use of asphalt shingles or reclaimed asphalt shingles as roofing material due to their affordable price, good quality and easy maintenance. Additionally, commercial interests will also play a part in modest growth as long as the economy continues to recover.
Compact Materials Resulting in Smoother Roads
Asphalt producers can take advantage of improved technology for laying asphalt roads. The use of electric screeds to lay asphalt first started in the late 1990s and is seen as a more environmentally friendly way to reduce emissions for laying pavement. The use of dual screeds can help create high-density roads, a characteristic of American paving, to help withstand pressure and weight. As a result, commuters can enjoy smoother roads that bear heavier loads.
Asian Markets Increase Demand for Asphalt
Contractors and asphalt producers are now looking to other countries. The US and Europe, while highly industrialized, are no longer the world leaders in asphalt use and paving as demand weakened after 2008 due to a weak economy. Despite recovering strongly in the following years, global players are responsible for increased demand for asphalt.
Country-wide infrastructure projects and rapid industrialization in Asia have contributed to peak demand in countries like China and India. The durability, smoothness and easy maintenance of asphalt roads, as well as its economic sustainability and environmental impact are key factors to its use. However, asphalt production in Asia is dominated by local construction companies and producers.
Asphalt Demand Rising Worldwide
In 2013, world demand hit 108 million metric tonnes. According to the Freedonia Group, an independent research group, worldwide demand for asphalt paving is expected to increase by 3.6% or a more moderate 2.1% annually through 2017.
It is expected that worldwide demand will hit 121 million metric tonnes. Asphalt production worldwide is still largely dependent on petroleum demand, and worldwide production is plagued by use of sub-standard materials, corrupt government agencies and difficulty in pushing infrastructure forward due to political turmoil or weather conditions in developing countries.