Syria’s consumption of cement is expected to reach 6.4Mt this year, according to Hassan Beydoun, Director-General of OMRAN the state-owned company affiliated to the Ministry of Economy and in charge of the import and export of building materials. This figure is a 16% rise from last year’s total demand of 5.5Mt. Rising demand for cement in the last two years, and limited imports from OMRAN, the only company authorized to import cement, has created a black market in the cement industry.
This year’s production from the country’s five cement manufacturing plants is expected to reach 4.8Mt, stable from last year and very close to the 5Mt maximum capacity of the plants. This year, OMRAN is expected to meet demand by increasing its imports from Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.
The cement industry had been for decades a strict state monopoly, both for manufacturing and trade. This industry, as other heavy industries such as power generation, has now been opened to the private sector, and a joint US$540m Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian manufacturing private sector project has even been licensed. However, the large costs involved have, for the moment, left the private sector outside this industry. State-owned plants, affiliated to the General Organisation for Cement and Building Materials (GOCBM) continue to provide all the country’s production of cement. GOCBM is currently carrying out a number of expansion projects that should help increase production by up to 3Mt in the coming 3 to 4 years.