Pakistani cement manufacturers have demanded the opening of a land route for export the product to India in 2007-08.
According to The Nation, the manufacturers want to export cement through the Wagah border. If this demand is met, they said the freight might be reduced by almost US$10-12/t, making Pakistani cement even cheaper than Indian cement.
A report by Merrill Lynch on the cement sector suggests positive developments on this front, considering Islamabad’s decision to import cotton through the rail and road route via Wagah border from India.
Cement exports from Pakistan to India have become more feasible following abolition of customs duty, withdrawal of 16 per cent countervailing duty on imported cement and additional four per cent additional custom duty on Portland cement.
But getting a certificate from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which is required before Pakistani cement can be sold to India, has slowed down the flow of regular export orders.
Both sea and land routes exports to India would be feasible either from the port at Karachi (501km by sea from Mumbai port) or land (500km from Wagah border, Lahore) where land route export could lead to a saving of US$5-10/t on total freight cost, reports the daily.
Interestingly, even if Pakistani exporters fail to capture the Indian markets, they would still have a chance of doing a good business in Middle East and other South Asian countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Presently, India could potentially import cement from Pakistan at the lowest price and lowest freight of available countries, as Pakistan has surplus cement unlike the neighbouring Middle Eastern countries.