Pakistani cement manufacturers say they continue to get import enquiries from companies in the UAE and Qatar. ³Our cement consignments are going to UAE regularly and there is a demand of 2,000 tons per week,² said a source at Attock Cement. Daily Times had reported last week that Pakistani cement companies had been receiving export orders from the Dubai region on account of lower prices here. Analysts had said local companies will earn a profit of $50 per ton by exporting to the Dubai region where a construction boom has lead to high demand for cement.
Attock, D G Khan and Lucky Cement are the three companies which have received enquiries from these Arab states. An industry source said the companies are exporting lower quality cement which is used in the construction of small houses and buildings.
³We are not exporting high quality cement for high rise buildings in Dubai,² said a source at one of the companies. But sector analysts cautioned that price normalization in Dubai and its related markets could deal a blow to the prospects of Pakistani cement companies aiming to boost exports.
Afghanistan a big market: An industry official said cement plants, which are working on 80 percent to 85 percent capacity for the last few months, are likely to increase production capacity to 90 percent to 95 percent in the next fiscal year to meet demand from Afghanistan, Qatar and the UAE. Pakistani cement companies have captured a large share of Afghanistan¹s reconstruction business since competing cement suppliers from Iran and China have been sidelined due to high internal demand in both countries, a result of construction booms there.
Analysts said cement exports stood at 986,000 tons during the period from July-May, the bulk of which was exported to Afghanistan. Bestway Cement remains the largest cement exporter with exports of 222,000 tons in the current fiscal year, followed by Cherat Cement with export of 174,000 tons and DG Khan Cement export 153,000 tons, according to a report prepared by First Capital Securities.