Pakistan cement exports to India are very low as compared with other countries and stands at only six per cent of the total cement export of the country, local press cited industry representatives as saying.
The industry is facing different types of problems in exporting cement, including packaging problems and different objections from the Indian importers, they said.
The cement export to India would remain low till December and at the start of next year the exports might improve gradually, they added.
The cement industry in the month of September exported around 550,000t of cement to different countries including Afghanistan, African and Gulf countries and India. While the cement export of India remained at only 11,500t or two per cent in September, sources said, adding that the situation improved a bit in October but is still lower than expectations. Pakistan exported 340,000t of cement to different countries in October and managed to export only 20,000t or less than six percent to India in the same month, said Muhammad Shahzad spokesman of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).
He said the production of cement is very much high but the transportation and packaging problems are hindering the exports.
“Exports could only be enhanced if transportation is done through road instead of rail or other means. The road transportation is cheaper and carry more stocks, thus increasing the export and decreasing the cost,” he said, adding that the Indian importers are also making different kinds of demands including writing of Hindi manuscripts on the packaging bags.
“Some of the Indian importers say that they want bags with Hindi written on it while some importers are not asking for it, which is also causing problems for the cement manufacturers,” he said, adding that the export to India would improve in January, as the problem of packaging would also be overcome by the industry during that time.
“Every industry faces such problems in early time but such troubles are settled with the passage of time.”
Around two companies are supplying plastic bags to the cement industry for packing the commodity while their capacity is around 16 million bags, each of 50-kilogramme. However, the industry requires more than 28 million bags, which means still 12 million bags are short. Earlier, the manufacturers were facing shortage of bags but now they are asked to pack the commodity in Hindi written bags, which is affecting the exports. Currently, cement companies are packing cement in a 50-kilogramme bag consisting of paper or plastic. Most of the companies prefer paper bag to supply cement in local market, as it is cheaper and easily available while the plastic bags are costly as well as short in supply. A paper bag costs around Rs 6 to Rs 8 while the cost of plastic bag is Rs 12 to Rs 13, said a local cement trader.
APCMA said the packaging bag companies have shown keen interest in increasing the production and would meet the industry’s demands in a couple of months.
Local cement manufacturers are exporting cement to Middle East and African countries and a couple of months back, around a dozen companies have applied for Board of Indian Standards (BIS) certification and more than five cement manufacturers have started exporting cement to India. The number of exporting companies is expected to increase, the APCMA said.