Saudi Arabia is set to receive its first shipment of UAE clinker with 50,000t recently loaded at the Mina Saqr port by CEM Asia Trading.
Clinker exports have traditionally been seen as too expensive and uneconomical, but cement producers in Saudi Arabia are having to import volumes to keep pace with demand as mega-projects in housing and infrastructure in cities fuel consumption. This is in sharp contrast to recent years when Saudi experienced a clinker mountain. In April of this year, Saudi Arabia's ruler, HH King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, issued a directive to import around 10Mt of cement to offset the shortage as well as urged the construction of new cement facilities to increase local production levels.
Cement and clinker exports from the UAE have also been climbing as local producers seek to offset declines in local consumption and raise capacity utilisation levels to maintain profitability. UAE currently also delivers to Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain in the Gulf region, plus Iraq, Africa and even some volumes have been recorded to Brazil. Last year, UAE producers exported 4.5Mt of both cement and clinker. In 2013, exports are expected to rise to 5Mt and 5.5Mt of cement and clinker, respectively.