Hit by massive capacity expansion and poor utilisation of their plants, some Indian cement companies are looking towards war-ravaged Sri Lanka, which is rebuilding its infrastructure. Industry sources said that Madras Cements is shipping cement to Sri Lanka, while India Cements and Dalmia Cement have got the approvals from the island nation’s quality certification body – which is a precursor for shipping cement.
“Cement manufacturers import coal through us and use our port to export cement to Sri Lanka. Already, we handle vessels for Madras Cements for their exports. We are now constrained by the inadequate number of vessels plying between Lanka and Karaikal (on the eastern cost, south of Chennai),” MLN Acharyulu, executive director, Karaikal Port, told the Times of India.
Cement plants in the Ariyalur cluster – Madras Cements’ Alathiyur plant, India Cements’ Dalavoi plant and Dalmia Cement’s Dalmiapuram plant – would be the extensive users of Karaikal Port for exports. Madras Cements has been shipping cement through this port. Between October and December there was no dispatch by this company, while in January and February the company exported 2825t of cement, port traffic data shows.
“For now, they (Madras Cements) are exporting bagged cement (each bag 50kg). We have been in talks with other cement companies as well who are keen to export bulk cement (which will get bagged at the port of arrival) as well as clinker (an intermediate product which is ground to cement),” Acharyulu said.
A Dalmia Cement spokesperson said that Sri Lankan market looked attractive. “Today, it is cheaper to export from Karaikal than through Tuticorin port. We will consider exports to Lanka, but nothing has been finalised as yet,” he said. India Cements officials remained tight-lipped, while sources said that the company has received the quality approval from Sri Lanka.