Islamabad: Cement export from Pakistan to India could be delayed due to shortage of packing material after it was revealed earlier this month there were inadequate transportation facilities in the country for the lucrative trade across the border.
The companies supplying plastic bags to the cement manufacturers for packing and transporting of the commodity were unable to meet the demand of the industry.
These companies are producing around 16 million bags each of 50 Kg. However, the industry demands around 28 million bags, creating a shortage of 12 million bags, said Muhammad Shahzad spokesperson of All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA).
“This is the reason why cement in local markets are sold in paper bags,” said another cement trader.
According to Indian and international standards, however, the companies must export cement in plastic bags, he said.
“Cement in paper bags is against the international standards and companies have to pack the cement in plastic bags but the manufacturers are facing shortages,” said Shahzad.
He said these companies have agreed to enhance their production but it will take time.
“Currently, one company is producing 10 million plastic bags while the other is producing six million bags but the demand of the bags is at least double,” he said, adding that the additional production would take at least two to three months.
“Therefore the cement manufacturers have to wait till December or January for packing their cement to India,” Shahzad was quoted as saying by the the Daily Times newspaper today.
Around a dozen Pakistani companies have applied for Board of Indian Standards (BIS) certification and two major cement manufacturing companies were formally allowed to export to India while the rest of the companies were waiting for the approval, said APCMA spokesperson.
Pakistani cement manufacturers are eyeing the big market in India, which needs more than 2.5 to 3 million tonnes cement annually.
It was reported earlier this month that inadequate transportation facilities in Pakistan was hampering cement exports to India.
“There is unlimited demand for cement in India. But the problem is we just don’t have enough trucks to send our product across the border via Wagha,” a media report earlier this month said quoting Rizwan Butt of Maple Leaf, one of the two Pakistani cement manufacturing companies whose products have been cleared by BIS for export to India.
“A similar problem exists with cement export by train. The Pakistani train wagons do not meet the standard of the Indian authorities. Therefore, it will not be possible for the cement producers to use railway facility to export their product to the neighbouring country,” an official of the APCMA said.