Qatar’s top cement producer QNCC plans to make available some 1.9Mt of cement in the local market this year, anticipating a huge demand for the material in view of the construction boom. About 60 cement ships are expected to call on Qatari ports in the next 12 months, industry sources said yesterday. Large ships can carry up to 21,000t of cement whereas smaller vessels load about 5000t.
"In view of the heavy demand, requests for regular cargoes have been sent to the current cement suppliers. They have agreed to dispatch up to two cargoes a month," they said. About 20 per cent of the cement being imported will be in bags. QNCC will import both ordinary portland (OPC) and sulphate-resistant cement (SRC).
"We can seek more cement cargoes, especially bags if the demand shoots up further," said an industry source. He said the demand for cement bags, mostly from retailers, had gone up by about 20 per cent last year compared with 2003. QNCC has shortlisted some cement manufacturers for ensuring supplies this year it is learnt. Last year cement was procured from all over the world, literally from every major producer. However, some producers had reportedly failed to honour their supply commitments to QNCC, which aggravated the material shortage in the local market.
The shortlisted suppliers include major producers from India and the Mediterranean region. Meanwhile, industry sources said reports in some local Arabic newspapers that the cement price would be revised shortly, were incorrect. "The last revision was in April 2004. The prices fixed then prevail," they said. In the last revision the price of a bag of OPC was fixed at QR11 and that of SRC at QR12. These are ex-factory prices.