a Glass Shortage on the Way?
Is a glass shortage on the way? The answer, according to representatives
from several North American primary glass manufacturers, is "no."
In fact, indications from the state of the glass and glazing market
today would point to just the opposite.
Fred Wallin, vice president of marketing for AFG in Kingsport, Tenn.,
doesn't believe there will be a glass shortage in the near future.
"There is still a lot of demand in the market and I expect
that demand will continue to grow at about a 2-percent rate,"
says Wallin, a 20-year veteran of the glass industry. "With
Cardinal's new float glass capacity coming online this fall, overall
demand for 2007 should be about the same as this year.
"The slowing of the market is due, in part, to a slowdown of
housing starts and existing home sales," he continues. A high
level of new home inventory, currently 6.6 months, coupled with
higher interest rates (forecast for 6.5 percent) in 2007 will continue
to slow the market. Lower energy costs could put additional dollars
in the hands of consumers that could mitigate the slide. However,
the commercial market remains robust growing at about a 4- to 8-percent
annually and I expect this to continue for the near term [next three
"We have a good market, not a fabulous market, but historically
one of the best in recent years," Wallin adds. "I get
the sense that next year will be similar to this year, although
it will be slower early in the year and finish stronger."
Mauro DiFazio, director of sales and marketing for ACH VersaluxTM
Float Glass agrees with Wallin and for many of the same reasons.
"With the slow down in both the residential construction and
automotive markets this affords an ample supply of product for future
demand in these areas, as well as other segments of the market [commercial],
which remain strong. In terms of the impact of other market factors
such as energy costs and surcharges, I don't see this having much
impact on production or availability of glass now or in the foreseeable
"I do not see a shortage of glass at this time," adds
Tom Kaiser, president of Cardinal IG in Eden Prairie, Minn. "We
are seeing a softening of housing starts and the automotive market
is slow so in certain areas one might see some extra glass around.
With the opening of our fifth float line in Winlock, Wash., last
week, Cardinal has taken steps to ensure that we have glass to support
our national customer base.
"With that said," continues Kasier, "we will face
some challenges if our market slows further and it will prove to
be interesting from a float standpoint. Geographically, in some
areas of the county, there could be concern about a glass shortage,
but this is more related to the freight component than it is with
an actual shortage of product. The reality is that the costs involved
in transportation, lack of drivers, diesel surcharges and lack of
backhaul, do and will factor into a producer's willingness to transport
product over far distances."
Watch for "Contract Glaziers Speak Out" every Tuesday
Got an idea for a topic? Email us at email@example.com
with "Contract Glaziers Speak Out" in the subject line.