PSCS price rise puts ready-mix companies on strike in West Bank

PSCS price rise puts ready-mix companies on strike in West Bank
Published: 03 February 2014


Scores of ready-mix companies in the West Bank have halted their operations in the Palestinian territories in an open protest against unjustified increases in the rates charged for imported Israeli cement by the Palestinian Commercial Services Company (PCSC). PSCS has increased the cement prices six times since the beginning of 2013.

“A total of 67 ready-mix cement companies will not function in the West Bank unless the PSCS gives up its decision to increase the price of cement by ILS18 (US$5.10) effective from 1 February,” said Khalil Assaf, a member of the Palestinian Construction Industries Union in an interview with Gulf News.

“We have also been notified that the cost of cement will be increased by another ILS18 by the beginning of the coming June.”

During the year 2013, the PSCS increased the fees for Israeli cement four times. Because Palestinian suppliers could not increase the prices charged to clients, those ready-mix cement companies suffered serious losses.

“Halting functions in the West Bank is suicidal for the companies, but functioning under the current prices is execution,” said Assaf.

The PSCS has offered to allow Palestinian cement companies to increase the price of each cubic meter of ready made cement to ILS350 (the current rate is ILS300).

“The PSCS enjoys a monopoly of the cement imported from Nasher Israel Cement Enterprises and PSCS makes ILS80 profit from a single tonne of cement without taking the newly proposed price increase into account,” he said.

Assaf added that the issue of the price increase has been investigated and West Bank based ready-mix cement companies have come to the conclusion that there has been no price increase from the Israeli side.

As cement prices in Israeli have not increased at all, they believe the price increases in the West Bank are unjustified.

“We must find other alternatives apart from the Israeli company. We can set up a cement factory in the West Bank. We can set up clinker crushers. We can import cement from other parts of the world – cement prices all over the world are less than West Bank prices,” he said.

“The problem, however, is a Palestinian problem and the Israelis are outside the picture. The PSCS wants to make the most possible profit without making any kind of effort,” he stressed.