Lahore - The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) on Friday released production data of April, saying the domestic consumption of cement posted healthy rise of over 6 percent in first ten months of this fiscal.

According to the latest statistics, the cement sector dispatched 27.664 million tons of cement during the first ten months of this fiscal which is 4.09 percent higher than the dispatches of 26.576 million tons during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. In April 2013, the industry dispatched 3.123 million tons of cement that was 3.8 percent higher than the dispatches in April 2012. Exports of 0.755 million tons cement in April 2013 were 2.28 percent less than the exports achieved during the corresponding period last year. However, the domestic consumption of cement during the period July 2012 to April 2013 reached to the level of 21 million tons depicting an increase of 6.03 percent.

A spokesman of the APCMA said in a statement that this upward trend could be impacted if the manufacturers were forced to bear higher transportation charges for coal, its basic fuel and for transportation of cement bags. 

He said that after the implementation of axle load, timely supply of raw materials and finished goods to destinations is being delayed. In line with the axle load restrictions trucks must have a load of 80 tons when leaving the port. This is made up of 50 tons of cargo and 30 tons of the own weight of the truck. Trucks are weighed at the Karachi Port weigh bridge while leaving the Port. These measurements are not accurate as the KPT instruments are not calibrated and are very old.

Beyond the Karachi Port weigh bridge there is another private weigh bridge called Babar Kanta where trucks are also weighed before starting their onward journey. This Kanta is more accurate, so that generally there is a difference in the weight shown by the KPT Kanta and this one.

The extra load, if any, is either taken off at this point or trucks go back to the KPT yard and reduce the load there. All this activity as can be imagined, involves loading and un-loading, and extra handling, and also loss of weight of a commodity like coal as some of it flies as dust.