UAE cement crisis looms?

UAE cement crisis looms?
Published: 05 March 2008

UAE suppliers of ready-mix concrete are struggling to keep up with demand with the risk that construction projects may be delayed further, cement companies and contractors said on Tuesday.

"We are already feeling the pinch and, if this situation continues, we are bound to see more delays in delivery of projects," said Ibrahim El-Hamadi, executive director of Arabtec Construction, reported Emirates Business 24/7.

Arabtec Construction is a unit Dubai-based Arabtec Holding, the UAE’s largest listed construction firm.

In the past week, cement prices have surged 25% as higher oil prices make fuel needed to make the product more expensive, the newspaper said.

"We need cement to do our work, but since yesterday we have failed to get any, meaning that our production has been zero for two days," said the managing director of a ready-mix company, who declined to be identified, according to the newspaper.

The managing director of another ready-mix company told Emirates Business its daily concrete production had dropped to 40% of capacity in the past two weeks and was likely to slide further.

Cement and steel price increases in the UAE are expected to reach the 20% mark this month, according to some industry experts.