Vietnam: increasing exports key to easing nation’s cement glut

Vietnam: increasing exports key to easing nation’s cement glut
Published: 18 June 2007

Cement producers have the capacity to produce 60Mta, exceeding domestic demand by 12Mt, according to the Vietnam Cement Association.  

Exports are the logical way to consume the surplus, said Nguyen Quang Cung, director of the Construction Ministry’s Department for Construction Materials, with many Asian neighbours, including Singapore, Japan and the Republic of Korea likely to be shopping around for new sources.  

However, Cung warned, the nation’s cement industry needed to get its act together if it was going to take advantage of this opportunity. Currently, only 13 out of 70 cement plants nationwide were equipped with advanced technology to assure quality standards for export.  

Productivity in the industry was also below that of other countries, he noted. A cement industry worker in Viet Nam produces only 5000tpa, half that of some of the nation’s more developed neighbours, Cung said.  
Vietnam’s cement industry was also hampered with higher delivery costs, he said.   Promotion of Vietnamese cement in overseas export markets was also poorly coordinated, according to Cung. There was an "every man for himself" atmosphere, with each enterprise finding its own export customers. No cooperation or sharing of market information was taking place between enterprises.  

Cung suggested that enterprises needed to invest in renewed facilities and more skilled human resources to ensure the quality of cement for export.  

The industry need to ensure large-tonnage ships were available to deliver on export orders, and there needed to be greater cooperation between enterprises in order to develop promotional programmes.  

The Prime Minister, meanwhile, has ordered the Ministry of Construction to supervise the investment projects planned for 2010-20 to avoid large cement surpluses in the future.  

The Government has also ordered the ministry to stop licensing additional cement projects.   The ministry was ordered to establish a control board to monitor existing cement plants and help balance supply and demand as well as promote the export competitiveness of the domestic cement industry.