The Pakistan government hopes that cement production will go beyond 45Mta in the next two years, as the existing 28 units are planning to further enhance their output capacity.
Sources in the Ministry of Industries and Production said that a couple of new plants may be set up, as three investors from UAE, Egypt and Qatar are exploring the opportunities to invest in this sector. However, they have not yet made up their mind, and decision is likely to be taken in the first quarter of this year.
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 is also up from Afghanistan. Efforts are underway to meet the demand of both sides.
More than 45Mt production is anticipated from the existing 28 units. If any new plant is added during this time, the production will surpass 45Mt.
However, the biggest cement market, Afghanistan, is becoming 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 production during last four months bringing the total production in October to 33 million tons from 21 million tons 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 start production soon, whereas the other units have either started their capacity enhancement program or are planning to do so.
The cement manufacturers see the demand of the commodity growing at home days ahead when expected dams construction projects would begin and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan gather momentum. 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 the commitment of the manufacturers to raise the level of production and increase the production capacity," sources said.