Pakistan cement exports hit by South Africa’s import duty


Updated Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:47:56 GMT

Pakistan: Cement exports from Pakistan fell by 36% year-on-year to 467,000t in September 2015, as the import duty by South Africa took a heavy toll on its exports.

"Around 45 – 50% of total cement exports were destined for South Africa before the duty was imposed," said Sheikh Adeel, Senior Manager of Sales and Marketing at Maple Leaf Cement. South Africa has imposed duty as high as 77% on Pakistan's cements. Adeel said that the drop in exports has adversely affected exporters in Punjab. The transportation cost from Punjab to Karachi Port also rose by US$20/t.

Another industry official said that the industry is not utilising its production capacity. "There is enough idle capacity. The government should step in to support the industry to export surplus volumes, otherwise cement exports will continue to decline in the coming months," said Shahzad Ahmed, a spokesman of the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA). "We expect the government to announce export incentives for the cement industry."

In September 2014, cement exports stood at 730,000t, according to APCMA data. Total cement dispatches were recorded at 2.95Mt in September 2015 compared to 3.15Mt in September 2014, showing a cut of 6.34%. The industry data showed that cement dispatches to domestic markets were 2.48Mt in September 2015 compared to 2.42Mt in September 2014, up by 2.6%.

The local industry has been demanding that the government curb cement imports from Iran, which they said is eating into local share. "The industry expects the government to take effective steps to stop the penetration of Iranian cement in Pakistani markets through massive under invoicing and/or mis-declaration," said Ahmed. He added that the mills in the south suffered more than those operating in northern part of the country.

In the south, domestic cement dispatches declined to 399,581t in September 2015 from 431,133t in September 2014. Domestic consumption in the north, however, rose to 2.08Mt in September 2015 from 1.99Mt in September 2014. Ahmed said that domestic dispatches in the north were nominally higher than the 2.02Mt of consumption in September 2015. "This shows that the pace of construction in the north has not been hit as badly as in the south," he said. The export decline was almost the same both in north and south. Cement exports from the north declined to 306,564t in September 2015 from 480,025t in September 2014. Exports from the south dipped to 160,698t in September 2015 from 249,906t in September 2014.