Cement and clinker exports from India is once again set to touch the 10 million tonne-mark by the end of this financial year. Rising consumption in the Gulf countries is the driving force for begind this surge in exports.
Industry sources said the export will continue to rise for the next one and a half years at least. The Gulf countries are witnessing a rise of 12 per cent in consumption annually, and the mismatch between demand and supply is expected to continue till FY08. Last time, exports touched this level in FY05 at 10.06 million tonne. "There has been a phenomenal rise in demand from outside and enquiries are pouring in from various quarters. At this pace, it seems likely that exports figure may reach 10 million tonne in this financial year," said a Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) source. The massive redevelopment efforts in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan may also contribute to exports rise. "Afghanistan and Iraq are also looking for imports from India. However, it is upto the cement companies to decide," sources added.
According to them, coastal plants are expected to play a bigger role for exports. Market players confirmed that there have been enquiries from Afghanistan and Iraq for importing Indian cement.
"There are capacity addition plans for 30 million tonne in the Gulf which will become operational by FY09. The commencement of additional capacities will help the region meet the rising demand. Till then the region will be a good export destination," added market players. In the first four months of the current financial year, cement exports alone saw an increase of 43 per cent at 2.12 million tonne against 1.48 million tonne in the corresponding period last year. However, clinker exports slipped by almost 50 per cent from 1.43 million tonne to 0.72 million tonne.
In 2005-06, total exports (cement and clinker) stood at 9.19 million tonne. And the kind of pace the exports is showing so far, sources said, the total export of 11 million tonne cannot be ruled out.
Industry sources said that UltraTech Cement is aiming to meet an export target of 3 million tonne by this financial year end.