Displaying items by tag: Infrastructure
Nepal: Hongshi Shivam Cement’s Sardi cement plant project in Nalwalparasi is likely to be delayed due to slow progress by the government in building a road to a nearby limestone quarry. The project was due to start production in May 2017 but the slow rate of investment by the Chinese firm’s state partner has caused this completion estimate to be revised, according to the Kathmandu Post. Other infrastructure requirements for the project that are slowing it down include a 40km road to the site and an electricity substation.
Russia: Soyuzcement, a cement manufacturing union, predicts that cement production could rise by up to 3% to 57Mt in 2017. In the short-term cement production is expected to benefit from infrastructure investment to local government municipalities from the federal budget and from a reduction to the mortgage rate by the banks. In the longer term the union expects that housing development and concrete road construction will drive the industry, according to Interfax. However, cement production fell in the first two months of 2017 and remained stable in March 2017. Soyuzcement has also prepared a negative forecast that stated that production could fall by 4% in 2017.
India: Ambuja Cement, a subsidiary of LafargeHolcim, supplied over 0.3Mt of cement for the Chenani-Nashri tunnel project that was opened in early April 2017. The company’s technical services teams provided technical support for the project by conducting cement mix design trials to achieve optimised mix proportion. It also held self-compacting concrete workshops to aid engineers and to provide support at the construction site to identify, diagnose and resolve problems. The group started providing materials to the project in 2010.
The new 9km single tube bi-directional Chenani-Nashri tunnel with a parallel intermediate lane escape tunnel of 29 cross passages, is considered one of the most challenging infrastructure projects in India in recent years. It is intended to make road travel safer and reduce traffic disturbances caused by unpredictable landslides, sharp bends, vehicle breakdowns and accidents on the existing mountainous route.
US: The US Customs and Border Protection plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April 2017 for a proposed border wall with Mexico. The agency says it will request bids on or around 6 March 2017 and that companies would have to submit ‘concept papers’ to design and build prototypes by 10 March 2017, according to the Associated Press. Finalists must then submit offers with their proposed costs by 24 March 2017. No details on where construction will start or how much it will be cost have been released.
Estimates for the cost of a 2000-mile border wall vary significantly. The Government Accountability Office estimates it would cost on average US$6.5m/mile for a pedestrian fence and US$1.8m/mile for vehicle barriers. However, an internal Homeland Security Department report prepared for department secretary John Kelly places the bill at about US$21m according to an anonymous source quoted by the Associated Press. It proposes that existing barriers built during the George W Bush administration be extended first in stages.
The cost of the wall will depend on the height, materials and other specifications of the project. Granite Construction, Vulcan Materials and Martin Marietta Materials are all likely to be potential bidders and Mexico’s Cemex is also likely to benefit from any increase in demand for construction materials in the region.
The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) struck a triumphant note this week as it announced that its industry has over 26Mt/yr of capacity upgrades in the pipeline. Its chairman Sayeed Saigol concluded in a press release that the country’s growth trend required ‘massive’ investment and that its producers were working on it.
Graph 1 – Local and export cement despatches in Pakistan, 2008 – 2016. Data source: APCMA.
Graph 1 shows how the local industry has changed since 2009. At this time exports hit a high of over 11Mt, constituting 34% of all cement despatches at the time. Since then though exports have fallen to below 6Mt or 14% of despatches, as local despatches have started to increase. Although local despatches have risen each year, the growth rate was below 1% in 2011. In 2016 it was over 14%.
Much has changed since 2010. At this time production capacity hit a high of 45Mt/yr in the 2009 – 2010 Pakistan financial year, according to APCMA data, but then utilisation sunk to below 73%, its lowest rate in over a decade. Pakistan’s cement producers sought a way out by exporting their cement. Export volumes subsequently exploded to a high of nearly 11Mt in 2008 – 2009 from next to nothing at the turn of the millennium.
The effects of this had particular repercussions in eastern and southern Africa as local producers suffered against seaborne imports. In 2012 the outgoing chief of South Africa’s PPC summarised the problem by saying that imports were not a threat to African expansion, provided that a cement plant was not built within 200km of a port. Rightly or wrongly cement from Pakistan was vilified by the African press and then legislated against. South Africa even implementing anti-dumping duties to howls of derision from Pakistan.
Funnily enough though the APCMA has recommended that Pakistan’s government do exactly the same thing against imports of cement from Iran. Industry scare stories about Iranian cement being sold illegally in Pakistan have circulated since at least 2012. Iran’s nuclear deal in 2015 must have worried the local industry, as the prize for Iran was the lifting of international sanctions making it easier for one of the world’s largest cement producers to start exporting its product. However, president-elect Trump’s disdain for the Iran deal may put those worries to rest if the deal is ‘cancelled’.
Back to the present, the Pakistan cement industry appears to be booming. One motor is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, a collection of infrastructure projects worth US$54bn. There is some disagreement at this point about how the usage levels of cement breakdown, with the chief executive of Thatta Cement placing it at 60% for infrastructure and 40% for housing but with other commentators placing it at 70% for housing and 30% for infrastructure. If the latter is true then Pakistan’s cement producers may receive an even bigger payday. The emphasis on housing shouldn’t be underestimated though as the country’s production capacity per capita, below 200kg/capita, is low by international standards. Either way, things are looking good for the local producers.
Kenya: Growth in consumption of cement has slowed to 5.3% in the third quarter of 2016 from 11% in the same period of 2015. The slowdown in growth mirrors a fall in growth in the construction sector, which grew by 9.3% in the third quarter of 2016 compared to 15.6% in the same period of 2015, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. It attributed the fall in growth in part to a ‘considerable’ reduction in civil work on the Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi as it nears completion.
UK: The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed the government’s publication of new procurement guidance including construction materials like cement. The government plans to use local construction materials in infrastructure projects across 18 separate projects by 2020, including rail and roads, and construction such as building and housing refurbishment.
This announcement also follows the new National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, which set out nearly Euro600bn worth of planned private and public investment, and changes to procurement guidance announced by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to make it easier for UK producers to plan and bid for upcoming government contracts.
The MPA is working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Crown Commercial Service to develop government guidance for local procurement for cement and concrete. This will extend beyond the current guidance for designers which advises the use of BES6001 to specify responsibly and ethically sourced concrete and masonry.
“Cement and concrete are essential for UK infrastructure development and housing, and contribute significantly to the UK economy. We welcome this announcement from Greg Clark MP, which re-confirms the government’s commitment to infrastructure capital expenditure, and supports the future of a local cement industry. The cement and concrete industries employ 18,179 people across the regions, including in rural areas, and are key enablers for the Industrial Strategy,” said Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA.
Pakistan: Tax bodies are expecting to see a jump in revenue in the 2016 – 2017 financial year from cement producers as Chinese-funded infrastructure starts to be built. The Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) in Karachi, the largest revenue-collecting arm, estimates that it will tax producers US$114m in the 2016 – 2017 financial year, according to the News International newspaper. A study by the LUT said that growth would arise from increases in sales tax and federal excise duty following the start of projects worth US$46bn from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Cement sales have risen by 8.3% year-on-year to 8.98Mt in the first quarter of the local financial year. This follows a 17% rise in domestic sales to 33Mt in the 2015 – 2016 financial year.
Philippines: Cement sales have risen by 10.7% year-on-year to 13.2Mt in the first half of 2016 due to increased government spending on infrastructure and improved private sector involvement in construction. Ernesto Ordoñez, president of the Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, also cited good weather as helping drive up sales, in comments made to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Private sector construction constitutes 76% of cement sales, while public construction projects use the remaining 24%.
Canada: The Cement Association of Canada has congratulated the province of British Columbia on the release of its Climate Leadership Plan. The plan describes how industry can assist the government in meeting its 2050 targets. The association welcomes the commitment of the provincial government to mandate the use of Portland-limestone cement (PLC) in concrete used in the construction of public infrastructure projects. Using PLC is expected to deliver a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the use of ordinary Portland cement.
“With today's release of the Climate Leadership Plan, the province of British Columbia has laid out a framework to work collaboratively with individuals, local governments, business and industry in finding ways to address climate change,” said Michael McSweeney, President and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada.