Turkey: knocking on all doors to export cement

Turkey: knocking on all doors to export cement
Published: 06 February 2009

With traditional export markets diminishing, many companies in the cement industry have sought alternative destinations for export. Nigeria, Palestine and Syria are among the new markets gaining attention.

"Back in the 2001 economic crisis, we were able to turn to Mediterranean markets or even to Gulf countries. But this time these countries are also the targets of the global economic crisis. Now we are knocking on every door in search of new export markets," said Tufan Ünal, chairman of the Turkish Cement Manufacturers’ Association, or TÇMB.

"Our search lead us to the countries in Africa, with which we had very little trade relations prior to the global turmoil. Countries like Ghana and Angola have movement in their markets," added Ünal, who is also an executive at Batıçim, a Turkish cement maker. Turkey’s January cement export totaled $72.3 billion, according to data from the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, or TİM. ement export to Germany, France, Italy and United Kingdom declined 50 percent in January, while the industry managed to spring into many new markets.

Cement exports to Iraq increased 138 percent and totaled $31 million during the first month of the year, compared to the same period last year. Turkey’s cement exports to Syria also increased 150 percent in January to reach $15.7 million.

Turkey’s cement exports to Libya, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Algeria, Cameroon and Palestine surpassed US$1m. Turkey had never before exported cement to some of these countries.

Exports to Libya surpassed US$6m in January and Nigeria imported cement worth US$3m from Turkey in the same period. Turkey’s cement export to Algeria has surpassed US$3.5m. Turkey had never before exported cement to Palestinian Territories. On January, Palestine’s cement imports from Turkey reached US$13.8m. In January, cement producers sold US$10.3m-worth of cement to Israel. Last year the cement export figure for the same period was US$8.4m.