Cement despatches reached historic heights in March 2017 touching almost 4 million tons with capacity utilization crossing 101 percent on the strength of robust domestic demand though exports declined by 60 percent compared with exports executed in March 2016.
A spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association said that the ever increasing domestic market has vindicated the manufacturers thrust on adding new capacities. He said Pakistan needs sustained infrastructure activities for at least a decade to close the infrastructure gap with competing economies.
The cement industry is playing its due role to get the momentum going and in March 2017 the industry despatched 3.964 million tons of cement against 3.583 million tons despatched during the corresponding month of last year.
The statistics released by APCMA reveal that the cement despatches during the first nine months of this fiscal stood at 30.304 million tons that is the highest ever despatches recorded in the first nine months of a fiscal. The figure could have been much higher had the smuggling and under invoicing of cement been curbed.
In the first nine month of this fiscal the industry despatched 30.304 million tons cement showing an overall growth of 6.90 percent over the corresponding period of last fiscal. During this period the domestic consumption increased by 10.90 percent but exports declined by 14.83 percent. It is worth noting that the domestic cement consumption during July-March period of this fiscal increased by 10.26 percent in the North and by 13.81 percent in the Southern part of the country. In contrast the exports from North declined by only 10.07 percent compared with a decline of 13.81 percent in the South. This should be a matter of concern for the authorities because in the past the South based mills being nearer to sea were leading cement exporters. The capacity utilization during first nine months of current fiscal is 87.1 percent.
Spokesman of APCMA said that the domestic producers are coping with the challenges of unethical exports on the strength of their excellent quality. He said substandard cement created distraction but could not suppress the demand of high quality Pakistani cement.