Forget the computer-chip shortage. The world’s economy is starving for sand – the key ingredient of concrete – and southern New Jersey has plenty of it, and the port to transport it efficiently from source to builder: South Jersey Port Corporation’s Port of Salem.
Each year approximately 400,000 tons of sand is mined in Salem County and barged from Port of Salem Marine Terminal for construction projects in the metropolitan New Jersey/New York region and, in the process, eliminating 16,000, 25-ton trucks from New Jersey highways.
The ubiquitous grain of ancient sediment is the key ingredient of concrete – the indispensable building block of all construction. As the post-COVID economy rebounds and President Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure program kicks into gear the demand for southern New Jersey sand will grow.
Without sand, there’s no concrete. Without concrete, there’s no modern highway, buildings, ports, airports, tunnels, skyscrapers…there’s no economy, no infrastructure building. The global shortage is so severe that several nations already banned its export.
New Jersey is rich with fine sand beaches but, like California, those beaches are constantly eroding into the sea and there is an endless and expensive battle to replenish the sand by pumping it back from the seafloor onto the beach. That’s why the U.S Concrete sand mine in Salem County’s Quinton Township with its 25.2 million cubic yards of sand is so important. With 380 aggregate mines and 300 concrete and asphalt mixing facilities throughout the country, U.S. Concrete and its parent, Vulcan Materials, is a fully integrated concrete/asphalt – from mine to pour – company.
In 2017, U.S. Concrete acquired the Quinton mine and the lease at the Port of Salem. Once mined, the sand is washed to remove clay and silt, weighed, and then trucked seven miles to the Port of Salem, loaded onto a barge which is towed once a week to its New York plants. Each barge out of the Port of Salem handles roughly 8,000 tons of sand, taking 320 trucks off New Jersey roads each week. It’s more efficient, safer, and environmentally positive transportation of the sand.
South Jersey Port Corporation and its four marine terminals throughout southern New Jersey move more than four million tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo through its facilities annually.