The Pakistan cement sector has achieved annual production capacity of 35Mt, with the addition of 2Mt to be produced by the newly established DG Khan Cement plant at Chakwal, Business Recorder learnt on Tuesday.
Now, a total of 29 cement plants are in operation, with the addition of DG Khan Cement at Chakwal, and the plant, currently being pre-tested for a month, would contribute to the existing production of 2.2Mt monthly by 28 units.
The government hopes to achieve over 45Mt annual production from these units in the next couple of years, as the investors are exploring opportunities for setting up new plants in the sector.
The demand for sulphur-resistant (SR) cement, white cement and blast furnace slag cement from Middle East is on the rise, whereas demand for ordinary Portland cement from Afghanistan is also increasing. Efforts are underway to meet the demand of both sides, sources said.
However, the biggest cement market, Afghanistan, is hard to capture because of the growing competition among Central Asian States, Iran and Pakistan. Pakistan is still in a better position due to low transportation charges. The cement sector has seen splendid growth, bringing the total production to 33Mt, from 21Mt in January, 2006.
Attock Cement has completed its expansion program, and the expansion of Bestway Cement would be completed soon. D G Khan Cement’’s new unit in Chakwal is likely to contribute from next month, whereas other units have either started their capacity enhancement program or are planning to do so.
Cement manufacturers see the demand of the commodity growing at home, days ahead with the materialisation of envisaged construction projects and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan. The prices of cement, as a result of government intervention, have also been brought down. The government hopes that cement prices will remain under control because of capacity enhancement by the manufacturers to increase production.