Around 40,000t of imported bulk cement is reported to be stranded at the Ras Al Kaimah port with local cement producers refusing to take the delivery of the consignment, said sources at Ras al Kaimah port. The cement has been jointly imported by three major cement factories including, Gulf Cement Factory (GCF), RAK Cement Factory and Union Cement Factory. Fifty per cent of the total imported cement consignment belongs to GCF and the rest is jointly owned by RAK Cement Factory (RCF) and Union Cement Factory (UCF).
Reliable sources from RAK ports said: "This ship has been stranded here for nearly 10 days and importers have refused to take possession under the pretext of increase in moisture content in cement. The fact also remains that since the imported cement is about 40,000t bulk, water has sipped in and has made the upper crust very hard enough spoiling the quality of cement. The situation is only adding to demurrage which is soaring everyday."
Local cement producers opine that both cement manufacturing companies RCF and UCF are facing over supply situation in their own factories. The silos are reported to be full and hence these companies who had contracted earlier for imported cement are now shying away from taking the delivery of the imported cement.
The sources also said: "The issue of stranded ship at RAK port has been reported to local producers and they have raised a strong objection on cheap low quality cement flooding in Dubai. At present cement is being imported from Egypt, India and Pakistan. Import of cheap cement may have its effect on the quality and prices of cement in future. The imported cement, which landed now in UAE, was contracted earlier when there was acute shortage of cement few months ago.
It may be recalled that in order to stabilise cement prices in UAE various waivers were offered by UAE government. The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) declared to offer discounts on port handling charges for cement shipments coming to Dubai Ports as part of a new scheme initiated by Nakheel in collaboration with Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) to encourage cement imports into the UAE, offering six months credit to importers.
Presently the cement prices are hovering at Dh15 per bag, ex-factory and delivery prices are in range of Dh16-17 per bag. Bulk cement is priced at Dh280 per tonnes, ex- factory and delivery prices is quoted in range of Dh290-300 per tonne.