Cement imports from Pakistan increase

Cement imports from Pakistan increase
Published: 10 December 2007

According to traders, cement imports from Pakistan into India are on the rise having crossed the 100,000t mark since imports were allowed in September.

Between October-November, the quantum of imports jumped by 25 per cent to 46,883t from 37,557t in September.

However, it has failed to make any impact on the domestic cement prices till now. If the imports further go up, the prices in India may come down, said traders.

Of the total quantity, almost 60 per cent has gone through the sea route and the rest by rail.

The average price of cement that was exported through the rail route is $72 (Rs 2,880) a tonne or Rs 144 a 50 kg bag, while the price of cement shipped through sea was $68 (Rs 2,720) a tonne or Rs 136 a 50 kg bag.

Even after including the cost of transportation from the port or station, the cement reaches a consumption site at a price of around Rs 165 a bag. This is significantly cheaper than Rs 235-250 a 50 kg bag for the cement manufactured in India.

In April this year, the government had scrapped the 16 per cent countervailing duty on cement imports. It also withdrew the 4 per cent special additional customs duty.

In January, the government had announced zero duty on cement imports. All these measures have rendered cement imports duty free.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has granted quality licences to eight cement companies in Pakistan after the government relaxed cement import norms earlier this year. Manufacturers based outside India need to conform to BIS-certified quality standards before supplying cement.

Pakistan has a production capacity of about 38 million tonnes. However, the consumption being just 25 million tonnes, the rest is surplus.