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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Cement dispatches up 3.85pc in March, exports leap 38.02pc

By Jawwad Rizvi
April 03, 2024
A labour stands alongside a heap of stacked-up cement bags somewhere in Pakistan. — AFP/File
A labour stands alongside a heap of stacked-up cement bags somewhere in Pakistan. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The cement industry has reported a modest recovery in March 2024, with total dispatches rising by 3.85 percent to 3.941 million tonnes, compared to 3.795 million tonnes in the same month of the previous fiscal year, data from the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) showed on Tuesday.

The figures indicate a mixed performance, with local cement dispatches dipping slightly by 0.62 percent to 3.336 million tonnes from 3.357 million tonnes in March 2023. However, export dispatches saw a significant boost, jumping 38.02 percent to 605,142 tonnes from 438,433 tonnes in the same period last year.

In March 2024, North-based mills dispatched 2.866 million tonnes of cement, showing an increase of 1.60 percent against 2.821 million tonnes dispatched in March 2023. South-based mills dispatched 1.074 million tonnes of cement during March 2024, which was 10.37 percent more compared to the dispatches of 0.974 million tonnes during March 2023.

The North-based cement mills dispatched 2.742 million tonnes of cement in domestic markets in March 2024, showing an increase of 0.76 percent against 2.721 million tonnes dispatched in March 2023.

South-based mills dispatched 594,487 tonnes of cement in local markets during March 2024, which was 6.52 percent less compared to the dispatches of 635,959 tonnes during March 2023.

The exports from North-based mills increased by 24.14 percent as the quantities increased from 100,431 tonnes in March 2023 to 124,672 tonnes in March 2024. Exports from the South also increased by 42.15 percent to 480,470 tonnes in March 2024 from 338,002 tonnes during the same month last year.

During the first nine months of the current fiscal year, total cement dispatches (domestic and exports) were 34.502 million tonnes, which is 2.68 percent more than the 33.600 million tonnes dispatched during the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. Domestic dispatches during this period were 29.401 million tonnes against 30.564 million tonnes during the same period last year, showing a reduction of 3.81 percent.

Export dispatches rose by a healthy 68.03 percent as the volumes increased to 5.101 million tonnes during the first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to 3.036 million tonnes exported during the same period of the last fiscal year.

North-based mills dispatched 24.236 million tonnes of cement domestically during the first nine months of the current fiscal year, showing a reduction of 3.24 percent compared to cement dispatches of 25.048 million tonnes during July-March 2023. Exports from the North increased by 33.62 percent to 1.040 million tonnes during July-March 2024 compared with 778,437 tonnes exported during the same period last year.

Total dispatches by North-based mills reduced by 2.13 percent to 25.277 million tonnes during the first nine months of the current financial year from 25.826 million tonnes during the same period of the last financial year.

Domestic dispatches by South-based mills during July-March 2024 were 5.164 million tonnes, showing a reduction of 6.38 percent over 5.516 million tonnes of cement dispatched during the same period of the last fiscal year. Exports from the South substantially increased by 79.90 percent to 4.060 million tonnes during July-March 2024 compared with 2.257 million tonnes exported during the same period last year. Total dispatches by South-based mills increased by 18.68 percent to 9.225 million tonnes during thefirst nine months of the current financial year from 7.773 million tonnes during the same period of the last financial year.

A spokesman for the association said that the industry has strong hopes from the newly formed government to address its concerns. "Cement units have increased their capacities in expectation of higher construction activities in the country; however, operating at full capacity is still a distant dream," he added.