Following the recent announcement by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources to re-allow the import of cement into Brunei to stabilise the price and ensure continuous supply, local contractors are now importing 62.5 grade cement from Thailand, which is cheaper than that available in the Sultanate.
Referring to the Thai cement, T. Mohan, General Manager of a leading contractor, Galfar Pembinaan Dan Perusahaan Sdn Bhd, said: "it uses the world standard of 1996 to 2000 specification. The cost is 20 per cent cheaper than the cost of production in Brunei. The Thai factory is producing such cement grade especially for Brunei."
Local contractors went as far as China to enquire about the quality of the 62.5 grade cement. Yong Teck Foo, Managing Director of local contractor Pahaytc Sdn Bhd, said he talked to about 10 cement manufacturers in mainland China. They said the manufacturers are willing to offer the high quality cement but at a higher price. However, the neighbouring countries are using the traditional 42.5 and 52.5 grade cement in their construction including for building Malaysia’s KLCC which uses 42.5 grade cement.
Meanwhile, Yong said there was a need to have a proper governing body in Brunei to tell the construction industry what to do in case of a cement shortage, which is a "big issue" as the industry is the second largest in the Sultanate after oil and gas. He called on the cement manufacturer in the country to conduct training and seminars to enhance the industry - for instance, bringing in an expert to talk about cement and concrete.
Mohan and Yong were speaking after a seminar on cement and concrete presented by Dr. Tam Chat Tim, who shared his views on the regional construction industry.