By the end of this week, Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) will raise its production to meet the demands of local and foreign markets. This assurance was given yesterday by TCL chief executive officer, Dr Rollin Bertrand, at a press conference at the company’s Claxton Bay offices. Bertrand also said that the company does not intend to raise prices given the current shortage. He explained that the cement shortage occurred because the company was engaged in connecting the new US$18m upgrade to existing facilities.
TCL general manager Arun Goyal said the project was completed in record time. "The order for equipment was placed in November 2003 and on November 7 this year some sections of the plant were shut down to tie in the old to the new," he said, adding that this accounted for an artificial shortage of the commodity.
Cement had to be imported from Barbados during the shut down but Bertrand said congestion at the wharves from which the cement was shipped was also responsible for the shortage.
Before installation of the upgrade, the factory was producing 780,000tpa and "now that we have installed the latest state of the art equipment we will be increasing our capacity to 1.8Mta," said Bertrand.
TCL safety record was blemished recently following the death of two employees. Bertrand said the investigations into the deaths are continuing but he was not in a position to give the latest update. He said following the two fatalities he advised the Board of TCL to carry out a review of all the operating systems of the group. "As far as TCL is concerned we are OSHA (Occupational safety and Health Act) ready, but will take another look at our systems, he said.