Cement manufacturing giant Portland Holdings Limited is set to increase exports to Botswana by 50 percent due to the growing demand for cement in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region market.
Responding to questions from the Chronicle, Portland Holdings managing director Mr Trevor Barnard said the company expected to boost trade with other Sadc countries over the next year.
Portland Holdings Botswana and Zambian markets had shrunk to low levels last year due to lack of foreign currency and fuel.
Mr Barnard said Portland Holdings had also started exporting cement to Mozambique.
"We expect this to continue for the next couple of years," he said.
Clinker is being exported to South Africa where it is processed into cement for sale in that market. Portland exports 12,500t of cement to the Sadc region every month and was in June producing an average of 25,00t, down from 35,000 tonnes last year.
Portland’s regional exports were expected to run until 2008 when additional cement manufacturing capacity will be commissioned in South Africa and Zambia.
An opportunity exists to export clinker to Zambia, but this is constrained by the inability to transport the product to Lusaka by rail.
Mr Barnard said the viability of the exports was being negatively affected by the exchange rate.
A subsidiary of Pretoria Portland Cement, Portland Holdings is one of the three major cement manufacturers in the country, accounting for 50 percent of total output.