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A Short History and Production Statistics
of the Cement Industry for Railfans

In the United States in 2007, 116 cement plants in 36 states produced 91 million tons of portland cement and four million tons of masonry cement. About 85% of the cement produced in the United States is manufactured using dry process technology. Sad that foreign companies now own 80% of U.S. cement capacity.

In 2004, approximately 90 million tons of portland cement and 5 million tons of masonry cement were produced at a total of 114 plants, spread across 37 states and two plants in Puerto Rico. The six leading States producing cement were California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, and Alabama. They accounted for about one-half of U.S. production. Because the cost of shipping cement quickly overtakes its value, customers traditionally purchase cement from local sources. Railroads at one time handled about half of the cement produced. However with improvements to the the highway system, shipments short of 150 miles generally move by truck. As of 2009, trucks moved over 95% of the cement produced.

One nice thing for the model railroader is that few cement companies have their own covered hoppers for transporting bulk cement. Most of the time, cement plants use covered hoppers supplied by the railroad. On joint trackage where a plant is served by two railroads, there may be a mixture of covered hoppers from both railroads. The cement plant at Monolith, CA had cars from ATSF and SP while the cement plant at Victorville, CA had cars from ATSF and UP.

GTW eastbound freight train with car load of cement

Immediately ahead of the caboose is a covered hopper loaded with cement.

In the United States in 1996, approximately 75 million tons of portland cement and 3.6 million tons of masonry cement were produced at a total of 118 plants, spread across 37 states. California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, and Alabama, in descending order, were the six largest cement producing States. Production in 1998 was almost 80 million tons. In 2002, 39 companies operated 118 cement plants in 38 states.

The cement business is fairly seasonal. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. cement consumption occurs in the six months between May and October. Cement producers will typically build up inventories during the winter and ship them during the summer.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that cement is rarely transported over 500 miles in railroad covered hoppers. There are many cement plants across the West to meet the demand. See the following chart.

Production for 1998

state plants production
Illinois 4 2,691,000
Indiana 4 2,500,000
Michigan 5 5,707,000
Ohio 3 1,113,000
IA,NE,SD 5 4,241,000
Kansas 4 1,802,000
Missouri 5 4,569,000
AR,OK 4 2,598,000
N Texas 6 4,114,000
S Texas 5 4,319,000
AZ,NM 3 2,240,000
CO,WY 4 2,138,000
ID,MT,NV,UT 7 2,605,000
N Cal 3 2,768,000
S Cal 8 7,249,000
OR,WA 4 1,796,000

The Texas Cement Capitol is 25 miles south of Dallas in Midlothian. Three different companies (Ash Grove Cement, TXI, and Holnan) have tapped the rich lime stone deposit in the area. Despite the weak economy elsewhere, Texas is still having a building boom and consumption has exceeded production for the last five years.

Production of cement in Texas peeked in the mid80s at 10,242,000 tons from thirteen cement plants. In 1990, Texas producers manufactured 8,000,000 tons of portland cement and 145,000 tons of masonry cement.

The North Texas Cement Company plant in Midlothian, TX formerly called Gifford-Hill, is another wet process cement plant originally built in 1965. A second kiln was added in 1969 with the third and final kiln put on line in 1974. It is the second largest cement plant in Midlothian producing 950,000 tons per year. NTCC is a Texas limited partnership; half owned each by Ash Grove Cement Company of Overland Park, Kansas and Hanson PLC of London, England.

Alamo Cement Co. was formed January 19, 1880, as Alamo Portland and Roman Cement Co. It had the first portland cement plant west of the Mississippi River. In 1908, Alamo Cement Co. changed its name to San Antonio Portland Cement Co. The company operated a new plant near Alamo Heights in north San Antonio until 1986. In July 1979, Presa Ltd. of Italy and Vigier Cement Ltd. of Switzerland purchased San Antonio Portland Cement Co. and he name was changed back to Alamo Cement Co. In 1981, Alamo completed construction of its current modern clinker facility in northeast Bexar County, known as the 1604 Plant. The plant can produce 1,100,000 tons per year.

Texas Cement in Buda, TX In June 1975, Centex Corporation acquired 363 acres of limestone-rich land near Buda, TX. Construction of the original plant began in December 1976 and was completed in June 1978. Operation of the plant commenced at this time with an initial annual rated capacity of 550,000 tons of cement a year. In 1983 the plant was doubled in size to its current rated capacity of 1,280,000 tons of cement per year. In 1986, a joint venture agreement went into effect between a Centex Corporation subsidiary, Texas Cement Company and Lehigh Portland Cement Company.

Texas Industries, Inc. (TXI) began on Sept. 1, 1951 and started buying up smaller companies. By 1952, the company had added seven plants that produced concrete pipe and concrete masonry units, as well as metal culvert pipe and ready mix concrete. Within another year, TXI and its subsidiaries were operating 28 plants in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In 1967, the Midlothian facility added a third kiln, making it the largest cement plant in Texas. In 1972, the Midlothian plant added a fourth kiln, increasing its capacity to 1.2 million tons per year and making it the largest cement plant in the Southwest. Near the end of the 1970s, the company began construction of its Hunter cement plant near New Braunfels, TX. TXI completed a new 1.8 million ton per year coal fired kiln at its Midlothian, TX plant in 2001 making it the largest plant in Texas and the second largest plant in the country. Today, TXI's four plants can produce slightly more than 5 million tons of cement annually, making it the fourth largest producer of cement in the United States and the second largest U.S. based cement company. TXI also makes 4.3 million yards of ready mix concrete per year across 48 operations, with a fleet of over 600 trucks. The company produces about 22.5 million tons of aggregate materials per year and is currently building an additional crushed stone plant that will add another 1 million tons to its annual production. TXI wants to increase cement production at the Midlothian plant from 2.8 to 3.4 millions tons per year. This will make it the largest cement plant in the nation.

Capitol Aggregates Inc. began in 1957 as a ready-mix and aggregate producer in Austin, TX. In 1964, the company purchased and refitted an outmoded chemical plant in San Antonio which was ideal in size, location and equipment for the start of the Capitol Cement operation. Capitol's production capacity is 1 million tons per year.

GCC Rio Grande, a division of Groupo Cementos de Chihuahua, serves customers in El Paso and southern New Mexico. Bulk and sacked cement is distributed through rail terminal facilities in El Paso. Cement for the region is manufactured at the company's state-of-the-art plant in Samalayuca, Mexico. Production is around 1 million tons per year.

Ideal Cement Company purchased the Gulf Portland Cement Company plant in Houston in 1940. The plant uses a wet process.

I need additional information on the Southwestern Portland Cement in Odessa, TX.

Portland cement was the second largest industrial mineral produced in California with a total of 12,127,000 tons of portland cement and 540,000 tons of masonry cement in 2000. Construction sand and gravel was California's leading industrial mineral at 173,092,000 tons. 2001 production of portland cement dropped slightly to 11,245,500 tons and masonry cement was 521,000 tons.

CEMEX, Inc. (formerly Southdown Inc.) opened its new cement terminal in Sacramento in June 2000. The facility has a holding capacity of 8,000 tons. This state of the art facility features automatic and dust free loading technology. Cement is transported by rail over 400 miles from CEMEX�s Victorville Plant.

CEMEX, Inc. a large Mexico-based company, purchased Southdown, Inc. for $2.6 billion in November 2000. The acquisition included: Southdown, Inc.�s Victorville cement plant, the Black Mountain, White Mountain, and Alvic limestone quarries in Apple Valley. The Victorville cement plant went through a one million ton per year plant expansion in 2001, and raising capacity to 3.2 million tons per year. This made the Victorville plant the largest in the US.

California Portland Cement Co.
The Colton cement plant started in 1894. Limestone comes from Mount Slover. The plant produced 900,000 tons of cement in 2003. January 23, 1956 marked the first bulk shipment of Mojave Cement from the Creal plant located nine miles west of Mojave. Record production from the five kilns was achieved in 1963 with a total production of 1,099,172 tons. In 1949, California Portland Cement Company (Arizona Portland Cement) opened a plant in Rillito, Arizona. This quarry contains a majority of the required elements for cement production. It produces about 200 tons an hour.

Riverside Cement in Oro Grande, CA started in 1907 as the Golden State Cement Plant. It was shut down during the depression and restarted as Riverside Cement in 1942. The plant was enlarged and completely rebuilt in the late 40s. In late 1997, TXI purchased Riverside Cement. TXI is preparing to spend $300 million to modernize and expand production at the plant from 1.3 to two million tons per year.

Lone Star Cement (RMC Pacific Materials) plant in Davenport, CA produces around 900,000 tons of cement per year.

I need additional information on these California plants:
Mitsubishi Cement plant at Cushenbury
Riverside Cement in Crestmore uses a dry process.

Ash Grove Cement
Ash Grove is the largest American-owned producer of cement in the United States. Founded in 1882 with a lime plant at Ash Grove, MO. Ash Grove Cement now operates nine cement plants, including a 1.5 million ton plant in Kansas, for a combined plant production capacity is more than 7.8 million tons of cement a year.
Ash Grove Cement Company began operating the Louisville, NE cement plant in 1929. Each year, the plant produces approximately one million tons of portland and blended cement. Most of this is used in Nebraska and western Iowa, however, some is shipped out by rail to Missouri and Kansas. The plant consumes about four carloads of western Colorado coal per day.
The Chanute, KS plant is located just north of the city limits. This was Ash Grove Cement's first plant completed in 1908. Around 2001, it replaced the 500,000 ton per year wet process equipment with 1.5 million capacity dry process kiln. It employees about 130 people.
Ash Grove Cement acquired the cement plant in Foreman, AR in 1985 from Arkansas Cement Corporation.
Ash Grove Cement acquired the cement plant in Leamington, Utah in 1989. Capacity was expanded to 825,000 tons per year in 1996.
Ash Grove Cement acquired the cement plant in Durkee, OR in 1983 from Portland Cement Co. In 1998, the capacity was increased to 900,000 tons per year. It employees about 100 people. The Durkee plant began production in 1979.
Ash Grove Cement acquired the plant in Inkom, ID in 1983 from Portland Cement Co.
Ash Grove Cement purchased the plant in Montana City, MT in 1987, in 1992, Ash Grove Cement constructed a new cement plant in Seattle, WA with a capacity of 700,000 tons per year.
Ash Grove Cement Co. will built a new cement plant about 40 miles from North Las Vegas in Clark County on the Moapa Indian reservation. The Las Vegas area imports about 1.5 million tons of cement a year. About 80% of this came from California. Construction on the Moapa plant is expected to begin in early 2006 with completion projected for late 2007 or early 2008.

Lone Star Industries
Lone Star Industries, Inc. was incorporated in 1919 as International Cement Corporation in Maine. In 1936, the company changed its name to Lone Star Cement Corporation. In 1971 the name changed back to Lone Star Industries Inc. Improvements to the Greencastle, IN cement plant will nearly double its production capacity, from 750,000 tons per year to 1.3 million tons. Lone Star Industries limestone quarry and plant at Maryneal near Sweetwater, TX has a capacity of about 600,000 tons per year. The plant in New Orleans, LA uses a wet process and produced 190,000 tons of slag cement during 1997.

I need additional information on these Lone Star Industries plants:
Bonner Springs, KS
Cape Girardeau, MO
Oglesby, IL uses a dry process

Lafarge Corporation of France
Lafarge Corporation is one of North America's leading construction materials companies. It is currently discussing plans with Holnam Inc. of Dundee, MI to acquire its cement plant in Seattle, plus related assets. The plant has an annual production capacity of approximately 420,000 tons of clinker, an intermediary product in the portland cement manufacturing process.
Lafarge built the South Chicago facility after making arrangements to take slag from the Ispat/Inland Steel mill in nearby East Chicago, Ind. In April 2003, after one full year of operation, the facility had processed about 120,000 tons of slag and produced 110,000 tons of its NewCem brand slag cement. Lafarge and other members of the Slag Cement Association shipped a record 2.9 million tons in 2002, a 22 percent increase over shipments in 2001. This growth is particularly impressive since overall portland cement shipments decreased about four percent in 2002.
Lafarge North America completed a $200 million upgrade to its cement plant and deep mine facility in Sugar Creek, Mo. The plant can now produce 1 million tons annually, more than doubling the plant's previous capacity of about 475,000 tons per year.
Lafarge owns another cement plant located approximately one and one-half miles south of Fredonia, KS. The plant manufactures cement in two wet-process rotary kilns. At maximum capacity, the facility can produce up to 400,000 tons of cement a year.
Lafarge Corp purchased the Lehigh Cement Metaline Falls, WA facility in 1989.

Lehigh Portland Cement

Heidelberger Zement of Germany purchased Lehigh Cement in 1977.

Lehigh Southwest Cement (formerly known as "Calaveras Cement" since 1925) serves ready mix concrete producers, concrete product manufacturers, building trades, engineers and architects across California, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. Lehigh Southwest Cement is one of seven business units of Lehigh Cement Company, headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Calaveras Cement's Gray Rocks Quarry, located approximately 12 miles north of Redding, has operated since 1960, supplying limestone for its Redding cement plant. The Calaveras Cement Co. plant in Monolith, east of Tehachapi, was founded 1908 to provide cement for the California aqueduct project. These plants were acquired by Lehigh Cement in 1986.

Lehigh Cement and Centex Corp. began a joint venture at the Waco, TX plant in 1986 to make specialty cements.

Lehigh Portland Cement also has plants
in Leeds, AL
in Mitchell, IN
the plant in Mason City, Iowa uses a dry process

Holnam of Switzerland
Holnam became Holcim in December 2001. Holcim produced about 10 million tons of cement in 2007. About one third of that (3.26 million tons) was shipped by rail.
Holnam approved plans late in 2000 for construction of a new cement plant at Lee Island in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri. The facility is earmarked for a 4,000-acre site along the Mississippi River - about 50 miles southeast of St. Louis - Holnam acquired in 1999. With an anticipated start-up in late 2003 or early 2004, the plant will be geared for annual output of at least 4 million tons.
In 2000, Holnam ordered an IKN Pendulum Cooler for their new 6,000-tpd clinker production line at its Portland plant in Florence, Colo.
In 2000, Holnam also ordered a longitudinal stacker/reclaimer system from F. L. Smidth for handling of raw materials at its Portland plant.
The Midlothian, Texas plant was built in mid-1980's by Boxcrow Cement as the area's first modern "dry process" plant. Holcim acquired Boxcrow in 1993. The plant was upgraded in 2001 and can produce in excess of 2.2 million metric tons of cement each year.

Heartland Cement Company plant is located approximately one-half mile southeast of Independence, KS. It operates four 175-foot long rotary cement kilns, producing approximately 340,000 tons of cement per year. It uses coal, petroleum coke, and natural gas to fire the kilns.

The Monarch Cement Company was founded in 1908. Monarch Cement Company has distribution terminals in Des Moines, Iowa, and Dodge City, Kansas. A new cement grinding system will commence operation at the Humboldt, KS cement plant the end of 2001 and increase capacity to 900,000 tons per year.

Nevada Cement Co. (a subsidiary of Centex Construction Products, Inc.) in Fernley, NV. This is the only cement plant in Nevada and produces over 600,000 tons of cement per year. Royal Cement was shutdown at this time.

Oregon Portland Cement in Lake Oswego, OR used a wet process. The plant was shut down in 1980 and demolished in June 1987.

Illinois Cement Co. cement plant located in LaSalle, Illinois is currently producing 600,000 tons per year with a single pre-heater kiln.

Mountain Cement operates two kilns at its Laramie plant. Recently both existing Folax coolers were upgraded with an IKN clinker inlet distribution system. The second unit went into operation in February 2000.

Royal Cement bought a junked cement plant, originally built in Iowa in 1954, for about $500,000, then spent another $500,000 trucking the parts to Logandale in Clark County Nevada in 1985. It has a capacity of 200,000 tons per year, but in the five or so total years of its operation, it has only produced about 450,000 tons.

Originally built as the Mississippi River Fuels Corporation, the plant is strategically located on the Mississippi River at Festus, MO, just 35 miles south of St. Louis. Today, River Cement is a wholly owned subsidiary of RC Cement based in Bethlehem, PA. Cement production capacity at the Festus plant is 1.4 million tons per year. Most of the cement produced is delivered to distribution terminals at St. Louis, MO; Memphis, TN; Natchez, MS; Burnside, LA; and Orange, TX by barge.

There were four cement plants in Iowa that produced 2.5 million tons of portland cement in 1993. There were only three plants in 2000. I need additional information on these Iowa plants:
Lafarge Corporation's Davenport Cement Plant located near Buffalo, Iowa.
Holnam Inc. cement plant in Mason City.

I need additional information on these plants:
Ideal Cement in Seattle, WA uses a wet process.
Ideal Cement in Tijeras, NM uses a dry process.
Ideal Basic Industries in Ada, OK uses a wet process.
Oklahoma Cement in Pryor, OK uses a dry process.
Continental in Hannibal, MO uses a wet process.
Blue Circle Cement Roberta plant in Calera, AL.

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