Caribbean Cement Company (CCC), the local subsidiary of Trinidad Cement Limited, will be looking to export cement to territories in the Caribbean Basin including Florida by 2009. Speaking with Caribbean Business Report from Caribbean Cement Company’s Rockfort sales office, General Manager Tony Haynes said: "It is our intent to get into the export market. We are positioned very nicely with markets around us within the Caribbean Basin. Our geographical position will allow us to get into those markets. It is part of business strategy that we will expand into and penetrate export markets by 2009."
The plan is to get the new plant up and running by 2008 which will see Carib Cement producing 2Mta cement. At that point there should be no substantial imports of cement, and the company’s dominant position will once again be unassailable. Following that, it will go into new markets by building relationships and supplying demand.
Carib Cement is playing the long game. Right now it acknowledges that due to the high demand and the number of projects undertaken, it cannot reliably supply the market. Therefore it is willing o let importers pick up the slack while its expansion and modernisation efforts take place. But in two to three year’s time, with an extended capacity and a guarantee from the government that it is the preferred producer and supplier of cement, it will again totally own the local market.
"You must remember that this expansion and modernisation programme exercise is not just about volumes. It is also about embracing the latest technology. We now operate in an environment where fuel costs, both electricity and coal, are high. Oil is once again above US$70 a barrel. The kiln we use is forty years old, but with the new kiln we expect to cut our kiln fuel costs by half and our electricity consumption by a third.
With the rapid expansion of the construction industry and the increased demand for cement, Caribbean Cement is projecting the market to grow to between 960,000t to 980,000t this year. Last year the company produced 867,000t of cement. This year it expects that figure to go up to 900,000t of which after building inventories it should sell around 875,000t.