Crushed stone and sand and gravel are the two main sources of natural aggregate, and together comprise approximately half the volume and tonnage of mined material in the United States. Natural aggregate is a bulky, heavy material without special or unique properties, and it is commonly used near its source of production to minimize haulage cost. However, remoteness is no longer an absolute disqualifier for the production of aggregate. Today interstate aggregate routinely is shipped hundreds of kilometers by rail and barge. In addition, during 1992, the United States imported 1,317,000 metric tons of aggregate from Canada and 1,531,000 metric tons from Mexico. A number of ports on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States receive imports of crushed stone from foreign sources for transport to various parts of the eastern United States. These areas either lack adequate supplies of aggregate or are augmenting their supplies because they have difficulties meeting current demand. These difficulties may include poor stone quality, environmental permitting problems, or transportation. Certain societal and geologic conditions of New York City and Philadelphia along the Atlantic Coast, and Tampa and New Orleans along the Gulf Coast, are discussed to demonstrate the different combinations of issues that contribute to the economic viability of importing crushed stone. ?? 1995 Oxford University Press.
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Geologic and societal factors affecting the international oceanic transport of aggregate