Kingdom imports 3m tons of cement in 9 months
Saudi Arabia imported some 3.1 million tons of cement in the past nine months valued at SR 750 million, according to a financial report quoting data released by Customs Department.
The rise in cement imports was attributed to the increased pace of project implementation and growing government spending on infrastructure projects, a source in the national committee of cement companies at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) told Al-Eqtisadiah daily.
The source, who asked for anonymity, said demand on cement is annually increasing at rates ranging from 3 to 5 percent.
The production capacity of 15 operating cement plants in the Kingdom reaches 60 million tons but the companies are producing 55 million tons at the value of SR13 billion, he said.
The volume of production varies between one company and another where daily sales are ranging between 5,000 and 25,000 tons for small and big companies, respectively, he said adding that two new cement companies, currently under construction, are projected to go into operation after two years.
Referring to prices, he said one ton of cement is priced at SR240 whereas one bag is SR12 based on government pricing regulations. But, cost of locally-produced cement is less than the imported, he said.
However, there is a convergence in quality between the locally-produced and imported cement as all cement companies globally are committed to certain international standards, he said.
The cement industry in the Kingdom is among the best at the global level in terms of quality and competitive prices and, further, the Kingdom is top cement producer at the level of the Middle East, he added.
The source affirmed that decisions, which are being taken from time to time, whether to ban or export it, are important and come to serve the cement industry.
Export restrictions (ban) come to time with periods, which are required to meet local demand to avert delay of project implementation. Demand in the summer season dropped by 40 percent, he pointed out.