Urban development and large-scale projects will be key drivers of Turkish cement demand growth going forward, according to Mustafa Guclu, chairman of the Turkish Cement Association (TÇMB).
Addressing delegates at the official opening of the 12th TÇMB International Technical Seminar and Exhibition this morning, Mr Guclu noted that the sector has witnessed 13 per cent growth over the first half of 2013 with sales of 34Mt. The country continues to be a major exporter, which delivers part of its output to the Mediterranean Basin, Iraq and Syria, and also dispatches some 1.7Mt of exports to Libya.
On the country's outlook, the government's urban transformation programme is likely to be a new driver of cement growth. Mr Guclu noted that over the next 20 years, 7m houses will be renewed, mostly around Istanbul. The project, which is expected to span two decades and includes a significant budget, will require approximately 140Mt of cement – not a large amount when spread across so many years, noted Mr Guclu, but this welcome impetus "will add dynamism to the industry," he stressed. The country also plans large-scale infrastructure projects over the next 3-5 years, adding significant amounts to current demand, which will also help absorb new capacity being installed by local producers.
Sustainable development is now a central theme of the Turkish cement sector, Mr Guclu went on to explain. Whilst maintaining economic growth, the industry has become a pioneer in terms of environmental and social responsibility. For example, domestic producers are prioritising the development of alternative fuel usage. This is closely tied to the country's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol and EU environmental negotiations which necessitate investment in various technologies.
During this morning's opening session of the conference, Caglan Becan of the TÇMB welcomed 400 delegates to the event being held at the Gloria Golf Resort Hotel in Antalya, Turkey, paving the way for three days of discussions on recent developments and new opportunities for the cement sector. Key topics of focus include energy efficiency and the environment, waste heat recovery applications, and waste and alternative fuels usage.
Also delivering a presentation during the opening session, Cembureau’s CEO Koen Coppenholle gave an overview of the European cement sector, highlighting that the industry employs 366,000 people in the EU28 and Turkey and that every euro spent on concrete generates three euros of expenditure in the overall economy.
He also stressed the importance of security and energy markets, saying industry cannot continue the unsustainable depletion of primary resources.