To Our Valued Customers,
Since the end of the “Great Recession” (2007 – 2009) the worldwide demand for flat glass has steadily increased. The balance between supply and demand, while tenuous, remained stable. However, a confluence of incidents at several large, North American flat glass manufacturers over the past few months and last few weeks has created a temporary imbalance wherein the supply of flat glass has been negatively impacted mostly in the Eastern US and throughout North America.
On March 2, 2017 Pilkington’s Ottawa, Illinois plant was damaged by a tornado (http://www.usglassmag.com/2017/03/pilkington-factory-damaged-by-tornado/) and has yet to resume production. In June, 2017 Guardian Industries experienced a gas explosion at its Dewitt, Iowa plant, which is still off-line and recently had to stop “floating glass” at its Geneva, NY plant for several weeks to perform an unexpected repair. Most significantly, on August 17, 2017 Vitro/PPG’s Carlisle PA plant suffered a glass leak and fire which shut down both float lines at that facility. On August 25, 2017 Vitro/PPG notified their customers this was a “Force Majeure” event which was expected to last 45-60 days. These events coupled with the scheduled shut down of other aging North American flat glass production lines, for maintenance, repairs and upgrades has made many of the popular items we normally inventory available only on allocation.
Tower is working hard to replenish our supply of clear and coated flat glass. We expect to have most products back in stock within the next few weeks. Some thin glass specialty items may require more time. Until then, our lead times may get a little longer as we deplete our existing inventory and our suppliers replace product from other plants here in the US and overseas. Unfortunately, the abovementioned manufacturers don’t have a lot of specific information inasmuch as all these events occurred recently and require substantial, time-consuming repairs. In addition, a price increase of up to 15%, to take affect this month, has been announced by mostly all the flat glass manufacturers operating in the USA.
We appreciate your understanding while the entire North American flat glass market seeks to regain its equilibrium.