In the wake of Hurricane Ida—and ongoing COVID-19-related shutdowns—the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has written a letter directly to the Biden administration asking for help to address the “devastating supply chain shortages” plaguing the industry.
“Natural disasters have also contributed greatly to the challenge of sourcing necessary supplies. Many materials used in roofing insulation, for example, come from Texas, Louisiana, and are imported from abroad. Texas had a historic ice storm that shut down production for nearly a month and Louisiana has now been hit with Hurricane Ida. Several critical plants in Louisiana have been shut down by Ida and it could be weeks until they resume production. Louisiana also hosts a vital seaport that is used to import necessary materials. Delays at this port have only exacerbated the strain on getting materials to manufacturers,” the letter reads in part.
Trent Cotney, NRCA legal counsel, applauded the effort, adding: “Similarly, we have worked with our national lobbyist, Craig Brightup, to support things such as the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (HR 4996) which eases some of the restrictions on shipping that are currently causing bottlenecks in our supply chain. We anticipate that material price increases and delays will plague the industry through 2022. Therefore, it is imperative for the industry to reach out to Congress and the Biden administration for relief,” said Cotney, who is also CEO of Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
The NRCA letter was addressed to the secretary of commerce, EPA administrator, secretary of homeland security and director of the national economic council. In the letter, NRCA explains that roofers are “vital to addressing current housing shortages, and to repair, build and maintain schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure buildings.”
“Without federal assistance, the key material components needed to provide shelter to thousands of Americans and businesses could be delayed for many months,” the letter states.
The letter explains that supply chain issues were already a major concern before Ida ripped through the south and then spawned flooding up the East Coast. That was due to manufacturers shutting down during COVID-19 along with a series of other natural disasters including the Texas ice storms and fires in the West.
Here is the complete letter:
Dear Secretaries Raimondo and Mayorkas, Director Deese, and Administrator Regan,
Thank you for your efforts to address America’s unprecedented supply chain disruptions. The situation facing our nation is unparalleled in modern times and shows no indication of easing soon. Your actions to protect public health and safety as well as economic and national security interests are vital. In that regard, we wish to inform you that the roofing industry is in immediate need of a comprehensive federal approach to address devastating supply chain shortages of materials that began during the pandemic and have been greatly exacerbated by natural disasters and most recently Hurricane Ida. Without federal assistance, the key material components needed to provide shelter to hundreds of thousands of Americans and businesses could be delayed for many months. Our industry is vital to addressing current housing shortages and to repair, build and maintain schools, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure buildings but these efforts are in jeopardy as materials are increasingly constrained.
Established in 1886, NRCA is one of the nation’s oldest trade associations and the voice of roofing professionals worldwide. NRCA’s nearly 4,000 member companies represent all segments of the industry, including contractors, manufacturers, distributors, consultants, and other employers in all 50 states and internationally. NRCA members are typically small, privately held companies with the average member employing 45 people and attaining sales of $4.5 million per year. The U.S. roofing industry is an essential $100 billion+ sector with nearly 1 million employees that provides critical materials and services to ensure home and business safety.
When the economy shut down in March 2020 due to COVID-19, many manufacturers logically paused building inventory of some materials because it was unclear how the economy would proceed in the coming months, but demand for roofing materials increased dramatically and shortages quickly occurred in the marketplace. These shortages have grown since then and are exacerbated by the fact that the materials used for roofing products are also used by consumer product industries where demand skyrocketed as individuals were locked down in their homes. This unprecedented demand is furthering shortages of materials needed for key components to secure and safeguard hospitals, schools, government and military buildings, manufacturing and logistics facilities and other community resources.
Natural disasters have also contributed greatly to the challenge of sourcing necessary supplies. Many materials used in roofing insulation, for example, come from Texas, Louisiana, and are imported from abroad. Texas had a historic ice storm that shut down production for nearly a month and Louisiana has now been hit with Hurricane Ida. Several critical plants in Louisiana have been shut down by Ida and it could be weeks until they resume production. Louisiana also hosts a vital seaport that is used to import necessary materials. Delays at this port have only exacerbated the strain on getting materials to manufacturers.
Given the unprecedented severity of the supply chain issues, we request immediate federal assistance with increasing the speed and capacity at our nation’s ports, a fast restart of production located in disaster areas and other assistance that may be identified in the coming days or weeks. Many of these challenges were created not by one single issue, but [by] a cascading chain of events beyond the control of our industry. Providing urgently needed repairs to many homes, schools, hospitals, and other vital buildings in many parts of the nation depends on swift action of both the private and public sectors working together to address this emergency.
Thank you again for your efforts to address America’s critical supply shortages and address these issues for the roofing industry, other sectors of employers and consumers. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you and your team in more depth and develop solutions to direct scarce, desperately needed materials to the roofing industry so it can provide vital economic and life-sustaining shelter to the businesses and citizens across the country. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Duane Musser, NRCA’s vice president of government relations, at 202-546-7584 or [email protected]
Chief Executive Officer