Cemtech Middle East & Africa 2014, the leading international cement conference and exhibition series, has opened in Dubai in front of an audience of over 270 senior industry delegates from 35 countries, including Guest of Honour, His Excellency Sheikh Yaser Al Qasemi, General Manager of Union Cement Company, Ras Al Khaimah, and Chairman of the Cement Producers’ Association of the UAE.
In his opening address, conference organiser, Thomas Armstrong, provided an overview of the cement industry’s performance in the MEA region, noting North Africa's resilience in the face of a challenging political and economic environment. “Even in Egypt, where increased competition and skyrocketing energy costs have been compounded by a weakening market resulting from political unrest, demand has fallen only modestly, while other countries such as Algeria are performing well,” he said.
In his keynote speech covering global cement markets, Yuri Serov of Morgan Stanley UK observed that 2013 showed the slowest growth in the world ex-China for a decade in 2013, but that global consumption should rise by around 3.3 per cent in 2014, adding about one percentage point to the expansion rate for the year.
Focussing on the Gulf countries, Hettish Karmani, Global Investment House (Kuwait), provided an upbeat view of the sector, which will benefit greatly over the coming five years from high levels of construction activity. Projects will be driven by national development plans, the Qatar 2022 World Cup and Dubai World Expo 2020 – amounting to a potential construction value of US$2.4trn earmarked for the coming years.
Regional GCC clinker and cement capacities are expected to reach 93Mta and 123Mta, respectively, in 2014, versus consumption of 92Mta. While Saudi Arabia will remain by far the largest market going forward, Mr Karmani expects Qatar to exhibit the highest growth rate, with demand expected to rise to an average of 7Mta over the 2013-22.
The conference continues with a range of presentations focussing on all areas of cement manufacturing technology, with contributions from Yanbu Cement (Saudi Arabia), Cemex (Egypt), Derba Midroc (Ethiopia) in addition to leading industry experts.
A large exhibition (pictured below) accompanies the three-day conference featuring leading equipment suppliers Cemengal (Spain), Loesch GmbH (Germany), Dal Engineering (Turkey), Fives Group (France), Beumer (Germany), Tondga Refractories and many more.