December 04: The domestic cement despatches in the first five months of this fiscal reached 16.854 million tons posting a positive growth of 2.91 percent while exports reached 3.608 million tons depicting a growth of 21.46 percent. Overall cement despatches grew by 5.76 percent to 20.462 million tons.
In November 2019, cement industry despatched 3.538 million tons in domestic market, depicting a growth of 5.11 percent while export despatches were 0.808 million tons showing a growth of 43.53 percent. Overall cement despatches grew by 10.61 percent to 4.346 million tons. The cement mills based in the northern part of the country despatched 3.241 million tons while south based cement mills despatched 1.105 million tons clinker and cement.
The domestic consumption in the North amounted to 2.976 million tons while 0.264 million tons of cement was exported. The domestic cement consumption in the South was 0.562 million tons and exports were 0.544 million tons in the month of November.
In the North total domestic consumption in the first five months of this fiscal was 14.432 million tons that was 11.32 percent higher than the domestic consumption in the same period last year. This region exported 1.214 million tons of cement during the same period this year that was 2.89 percent lower than last year.
The Southern region depicted a very contrasting performance as it despatched 2.422 million tons cement for domestic consumption in the five months of this fiscal which was 29.02 percent less than the cement consumed by the region during the same period last fiscal. The exports during the same period this year increased by 39.16 percent to 2.394 million tons.
A Spokesman of the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturer Association said that the cement industry is sitting on a huge unutilized capacity as against installed capacity of 59.65 million tons it despatched 46.88 million tons cement last year. This year the total despatches at current pass might reach 49.11 million tons. Again 10.54 million tons capacity would remain unutilized.
He appealed to the government to enhance cement consumption by replacing kiln bricks with concrete blocks. This would largely resolve the smog issue in central Punjab where brick kilns have to be closed in winter to control smog. They said brick kilns also erode the quality of soil and a shift to cemented blocks is in line with other developed economies.
“Government should start work on announced housing projects that will have a positive impact on uptake of construction materials including cement and create jobs for skilled and unskilled labour,” he added.
He appealed to the government to support the industry by minimizing duties and taxes on cement in order to increase cement consumption.