Lahore - The cement dispatches to domestic markets during July 2016 were 2.018 million tonnes compared to 1.8 million tonnes during the same month last year, showing a healthy increase of 12.38 percent and indicating continuity in the growth.

According to the latest figures released by the APCMA on Tuesday, exports during July 2016 stood at 465,102 tonnes against 465,369 tonnes during July, 2015, showing a slight reduction of 0.06 percent. Total dispatches during July 2016 were 2.483 million tonnes compared to 2.26 million tonnes during the same month last year, showing an increase of 9.82 percent.

Healthy off-take was observed in domestic dispatches during July 16 despite heavy rains that seriously affected construction activities in many parts of the country. Domestic dispatches in North Zone stood at 1.667 million tonnes (July 15: 1.517 million tonnes) and in South Zone were 0.351 million tonnes (July 15: 0.279 million tonnes).

The manufacturing units of North region of the country registered growth both in local dispatches and exports and stood at 9.85 percent and 11.82  percent, respectively, while the South Region units registered 26.15 percent local growth but faced decline of 17.02 percent in exports.

Quantitatively, during July 2016, exports from the North Zone were 306,000 tonnes while exports from the South Zone were 159,000 tonnes.

In July 2015, the cement exports from North totaled 274,000 tonnes and from South 192,000 tonnes. During July 2016, exports to Afghanistan declined to 149,666 tonnes (-15.87 percent) against 177,900 tonnes during July 2015.

Exports by sea also substantially reduced to 177,492 tonnes (-27.43 percent) during July 2016 against 244,590 tonnes during July 2015.  

APCMA spokesman said that exports were continuously on decline for the last few years, as it posted 2.84 percent negative growth in 2013-14, negative growth of 11.57  percent in 2014-15, and negative growth of 18.38  percent in 2015-16. “This should be a concern for the government. The government should support local manufacturers to compete globally by giving them freight/ transportation subsidy and other incentives to promote exports,” he added.

He said that influx of smuggled Iranian cement into Balochistan and other coastal areas was another major issue, and so far the government had not taken result-oriented steps to curb smuggling. “Cement industry loses approx 1 million tonness of volume annually due to smuggled Iranian cement,” he concluded.