Lahore - The cement 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.

According to the latest figures of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association, exports from the North Zone during July 2016 were 306,000 tonnes while exports from the South Zone were 159,000 tonnes. In July 2015, cement exports from the North were 274,000 tonnes and from South were 192,000 tonnes.

During July 2016, exports to Afghanistan declined to 149,666 tonnes (-15.87 percent) compared to 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 the exports were on continuously on decline for the last few years, as they registered 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,” he said, adding, “The government should support local manufacturers in their bid to compete at global level by giving them freight/ transportation subsidy and other incentives to promote their exports.”

He said the influx of smuggled Iranian cement into Balochistan and other coastal areas was another major issue, and so far the government had not taken any result oriented steps to curb smuggling.

Cement industry loses approximately 1 million tonnes of volume annually due to smuggled Iranian cement.