After remaining a traditional supplier of cement to Afghanistan Pakistan is gearing up its export sales. Shortage of cement in India and strong demand from North African countries, including Yemen, has encouraged Pakistan’s three main producers to improve production and sales.
Industry sources disclosed that Bestway is further expanding its capacity by 4,000 tons per day, and the plant would come into production next year. Similarly, Luck Cement is also setting up another plant with a capacity of 6,000 tons per day and D G Khan is reported to be also working on similar plans.
On average, cement exports to African countries fetch between US$110 and US$115 per ton C&F.
Pakistani exporters have also begun to enter the Indian market, despite a number of time-consuming regulatory and operational obstacles. Road trucks have now been allowed to move into each other’s border up to half or one km and construct truck terminals to facilitate transfer of bagged and bulk cement.
Most cement exports to India had, so far, been through sea or by railway. The Pakistan Railways have doubled cement loading capacity to India.
However, exporters complain that railways freight charges for carrying cement from Lahore city to the border are Rs500 per ton ($8 per ton) while it covers only 35 km. Against this, they say on the Indian side, the freight is only $3 per ton for bringing goods from Chundrigar to the border area.
Exporters said cement exports to India through sea on an average earned $85 per ton C&F, and from Wagha border it remained little less. However, all these deals and transactions are finalised through Dubai where L/Cs are negotiated and are opened. There is also huge demand for cement by large Indian state-owned corporations and recently a delegation also visited Pakistan to seek shipment of around two million ton exports on government-to-government basis.