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First cement shipment from Pakistan to arrive by month-end

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Bureau of Indian Standards certifies seven companies

Suresh P. Iyengar

Mumbai, Aug. 14 The first consignment of cement from Pakistan is expected to land on Indian shores by August end, with the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) certifying seven Pakistan cement companies.

“There were problems in importing from Pakistan, but I think we have moved forward. The first shipment from Pakistan will arrive in India by the end of this month,” said Mr Sayed Haneef, a Mumbai-based cement dealer, who is in advanced stage of negotiation with a Pakistani company for imports.

BIS Approval

Industry sources say that the initial imports may not have a major impact on domestic prices. A clear picture will emerge mid-September when large quantities are imported and when issues such as transportation and user-acceptance come into focus. Lucky Cement, Maple Leaf, Pakistan Cement, Attock Cement, Bestway Cement, DG Khan Cement and Zeal Pak Cement, are among the Pakistan companies that have been awarded BIS approval.

As on August 9, of about 15 applications with BIS, these 7 companies from Pakistan have got the go ahead.

According to estimates, Pakistan has a capacity to produce about 34 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) and is set to increase it to 40 mtpa by April. Pakistan’s domestic demand is about 22 million tonnes (mt), thereby generating a surplus of 10-12 mt. Pakistan cement industries are equipped to ship 8,000-10,000 tonnes a day to India.

Installed Capacity

At a recent FICCI meet in New Delhi, the Pakistan Commerce Secretary, Mr Syed Asif Shah, said that Pakistan cement companies had assured him that they would start exports by August end.

India has an installed capacity of 165 mt and faces a shortfall of around 10 mt.

Shortage

Buoyed by the opportunity thrown open by shortage of cement in the country, many small and medium cement manufacturers from China, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Bangladesh have sought BIS certification.

Indian importers feel that the Government should consider clearing large company applications on a fast track. Al-Abbas Cement Industries and Javedan Cement of Pakistan have an exportable capacity of 0.45 mtpa. Fecto Cement also from Pakistan can export 0.8 mtpa.

Longkous Fanlin Cement from China with a 2 mtpa capacity, Yingde Dragon Mountain Cement from Hong Kong with 3.25 mtpa capacity and Holcim Bangladesh with 1.3 mtpa capacity are waiting in the wings to send their produce to India.

Related Stories:
‘Pak cement by year-end’
Faster certification for imported cement
`Cement imports from Pakistan may not impact retail costs'
`Open Wagah border for cement import'

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 15, 2007)
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