Bolivia's drive to reduce imports

Bolivia's drive to reduce imports
09 August 2019

This week saw the inauguration of the new plant of Empresa Pública Productiva de Cementos de Bolivia (ECEBOL), located in Jeruyo, Caracollo, in the country’s Oruro province. The 1.3Mta plant represents an investment of US$306m by the country’s government, according to Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales.  

ECEBOL is also planning a further cement plant in Chiutara, Potosí. The company was granted a 39.8ha plot of state-owned land by the Lower House of the Bolivian Parliament in February. The 1.36Mta project represents an investment of US$241.1m.

In addition, Fábrica Nacional de Cemento SA is expanding the production capacity of its Cal Orck’o works near Sucre. The currently 1.16Mta works is expected to see a further 0.835Mta added when construction is completed.  

However, this extra 2.2Mta of cement capacity, when completed, will push the country’s total capacity over the 8Mta mark and cement producers may see the need to start exporting their product to keep plants running at high utilisation rates. However, for now the extra capacity offers the opportunity to reduce expensive imports.

Reducing import reliance in an expanding domestic market
In recent years, the Bolivian cement market has seen robust growth although this appears to have somewhat decelerated in the 2018-19 period. Current market demand is estimated at just under 5Mta.

However, the country is undertaking steps to reduce its reliance on imports from countries including Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Germany and Spain. While in 2016 imports were estimated at 0.63Mt, they fell to 0.268Mt in 2017 and further to 0.189Mt in 2018.

Moreover, to protect its expanding cement industry, the Bolivian government has put measures in place to prohibit the import of cement that does not meet quality standards. The initiative was put in place in January, giving companies six months’ notice to clear stocks before uniform control starts.

Published under Cement News

Tagged Under: Bolivia Ecebol Fancesa