Bermuda: concern over cement supplies

Bermuda: concern over cement supplies
Published: 05 December 2005

The West End Development Corporation (Wedco) has failed to secure a deal with cement giant Cemex to take over the Bermuda Cement Company plant next month, informed industry sources told the Mid-Ocean News yesterday. Wedco announced in September that Wedco and Cemex had negotiated an agreement to jointly run the Dockyard cement operation for a period of up to two years while bids are taken for a new long-term operator. The Bermuda Cement Company, a tenant on the site for four decades, was due to bring its operations to a halt on December 31 after negotiations with Wedco over a new lease failed.

A member of staff at the BCC plant confirmed that business had been brisker than usual lately and that "everybody was asking what was going to happen". He added: "There are a few weeks’ supply of cement left, but we need another shipment badly." Alex DeCouto, vice-president of The Construction Association of Bermuda, said yesterday the cement supply situation was of "very grave concern" and the current uncertainty over the cement plant’s future did not help.

Mr DeCouto said the construction industry was now as busy as it had been at any time over the past decade and it employed more than 3000 people. "Obviously, we would like to see the future of the cement plant sorted out with a sense of urgency," Mr. DeCouto added. "Our livelihoods depend on a consistent supply of cement for various products and processes. The ramifications for our economy are far-reaching."