News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

August 29, 2012

Hurricane Isaac to Have Minimal Effect on Carbon Black Supplies

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 3:23 pm

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana at 6:45 PM (CDT) and then moved back over water for several hours until it came ashore again at 2:15 AM near Port Fourchon, LA. The storm is weakening as it moves overland, and by late afternoon on Wednesday it had been downgraded from a Category 1 Hurricane to a Tropical Storm.

The storm caused the temporary shutdown of five carbon black plants in the Gulf Coast with a combined capacity of 781 KTPY of capacity, or 46% of total US capacity. However, the shutdowns were short in duration (averaging about 48 hours) and the storm is expected to have only a minimal impact on supplies. Suppliers have indicated that they had plenty of advanced warning to build up inventories.

Here is an update on the status of the affected plants.

Cabot – Canal Plant at Franklin, LA: Plant was idled on Tuesday and is expected to restart on Thursday.

Cabot – Ville Platte, LA: Plant was ‘idled hot’ (i.e., it is not producing but the reactors were not fully shut down) on Tuesday and is expected to restart late Wednesday or Thursday.

Columbian Chemicals – Franklin, LA: Shutdown as of mid-day Tuesday. Plant expected to restart by Friday or possibly sooner. Plant has sufficient inventory on hand ot maintain supplies without disruption.

Orion Engineered Carbons – Ivanhoe, LA: Shutdown as of Tuesday. Expected restart on Thursday.

Orion Engineered Carbons – Orange, TX: Unaffected by storm.

Sid Richardson – Addis, LA: Shut down on Tuesday as a precaution. Plan to restart on Wednesday depending on power. Plant has highest inventory level possible, tanks are full, and all cars have been pre-shipped. No disruptions expected.

The main concerns as of late Wednesday were related to power supplies and possible disruptions to rail and truck traffic caused by lingering heavy rains. At worst, it appears that the storm may cause some delays of shipments by a few days.

August 15, 2012

Brazil’s tire labeling program will be similar to Europe’s

Filed under: Tires — Notch @ 6:07 am

European Rubber Journal (subscription required) reports that Brazil has concluded the comment period for its proposed rules for tire labels. The original discussion document, which was published in mid-June, included information on the proposed label, which was very similar the EU label. Brazil’s Institute Of Metrology, Quality And Technology, InMetro is now studying the responses and is expected to publish a revised document in the next few months.

The discussion document included a proposed label (see below, courtesy of ERJ), which is almost indistinguishable from the EU version. Like its EU counterpart, the Brazilian version tracks rolling resistance, wet grip and noise. The proposal suggests an introductory period of around 4 years. Once the final rule is published, tire producers and importers would have 48 months to meet the guidelines.

August 12, 2012

RMA forecasts mixed outlook for US tire shipments

Filed under: Carbon Black, Tires — Notch @ 11:07 am

The Rubber Manufacturers Association has forecast that US tire shipments will increase by approximately 1.2 percent, or just over 3 million units, to 288 million units. The main driver of these gains is original equipment (OE) tires for both light vehicle and commercial truck markets, which are forecast to rise nearly 16% in 2012 as continued pent up demand for both light vehicles and commercial trucks boosts domestic new vehicle sales and production.

Replacement tire shipments are forecast to decline by about 2%, or nearly 4 million units, to 236 million total units in 2012. Replacement consumer tire shipments are expected to rise slightly in the second half of 2012 based on increased miles driven, but the gains won’t be enough to keep shipments for the entire year from slipping below the 2011 levels, the Rubber Manufacturers Association said.

Here is the press release.

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