Welcome back to INTERCEM’s dedicated news web page for cement industry executives.
During the necessary hiatus from face-to-face events across the globe, INTERCEM still wants to play our part in helping cement executives all around the world share best practice, and the latest market updates electronically. To do this, we are restarting the news service on our website and will also be using this platform for think pieces and analysis - all free of charge.
For 35 years INTERCEM has been bringing industry leaders together in destinations across the globe for face-to-face networking and presentations on the latest industry trends, market forecasts and technological developments presented by some of the most knowledgable, respected and internationally-recognised figures working both inside and outside the cement sector. INTERCEM meetings have been a go-to resource for a generation of cement industry leaders across the world providing insight, analysis and data to assist decision-makers in both their day-to-day work and their long term business planning.
Through boom and bust, trade wars, actual wars, crashes, crises, mergers, monopolies, globalisation, digitisation and much, much more, INTERCEM has assisted in the dissemination of information across the sector – no matter the size of your operation, market share, or background. On this news page, we will continue in this tradition, democratising information and inviting leading industry figures, including many of those familiar to regular conference attendees, the opportunity to share essays and ’Think Pieces’ on topics of importance to executives across the cement industry supply chain. As such, we would like to hear from you, your suggestions for content, or if you would like to contribute a news story or short article.
The COVID 19 pandemic has come at an already very difficult moment for the cement industry - with an overcapacity glut across many international markets - and it is likely to make a significant impact on the sector for some time to come. Without in any way acting in an anti-competitive manner, leaders of our industry need to share best practice information and support each other through these times. Through many different crises over the past 30 years, INTERCEM has been a place for us to do that face-to–face, and I hope that now with modern technology we can find ways to do this electronically.
According to the protocol rolled out over the weekend by the ministry, vessels arriving at Indian ports from infected countries within 14 days have to be quarantined for 14 more days.
No sooner did the Union shipping ministry lay down protocol for vessels calling on the Indian ports to combat COVID-19, importers, especially for the cement industry, are already staring at a cost escalation on account of 14-day quarantine period.
“India imports limestone in large quantities from the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Qatar and Oman, where the voyage is about three to four days. Now, the vessels will have to wait for 10 odd days extra before berthing here. Due to this, ship owners will be budgeting the extra wait time on account of quarantine. This will push up the cost of transportation for importers in turn impacting cement industry,” Rahul Bhargava, director (Commercial & Operations) at Essar Shipping told Business Standard.
According to the protocol rolled out over the weekend by the Ministry of Shipping, vessel arriving at the Indian ports from infected countries before 14 days of departure from the infected port have to be quarantined until it completes the 14-day period. India imports sizable dry bulk, liquid bulk and container cargo from the West Asia and South East Asian countries from where shipping takes less than 14 days.
“It will be a serious issue for limestone importers mainly on the west coast where the commodity comes typically to ports of Gujarat. Their cost of transportation is expected to go up by 35-40 per cent as both bunkering and chartering costs will go up for additional number of days,” said Bhargava.
While the short haul will take a hit, for the long haul, where limestone vessels move from these countries to the east coast of India, the voyage is about 10-11 days, the cost escalation will not be that high. "The additional number of days (to make up the quarantined period) is less which means cost of transportation for the east coast importers will not be impacted much,” Bhargava explained.
From the West Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Oman and Qatar, India largely imports its crude oil and limestone.
Crude oil imports will not have much impact since both Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the top suppliers to India, are not among the 22 listed COVID-19 infected countries.
Vessels arriving from any port in China, where the virus is believed to have originated, will also have the necessary quarantine period of 14 days, said the ministry.
Either India gets the Chinese container cargo directly or is transhipped via port of Colombo in Sri Lanka or via Singapore. India imports electronics, spares, electronic intermediates such as chips and other components of gadgets from the dragon country in large quantities.
Whether it is a direct voyage or via transhipment, it takes about 15-20 days for a container shipment to come to India from China (wherever Chennai Port or the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust).
“The China cargo will have to kept in quarantine in the port and terminal boundary which will then attract a per day demurrage charge (for 14 days), which the port levies on the cargo. This will push up cost of transportation for the importer but here the port has the freedom to give discounts or wavers depending on the trade conditions in the current scenario,” said Subrata K. Behera, manager -ports and container research at Drewry, a London-based maritime research firm.
Alongside, India’s exports are also expected to get impacted in coming days as industrial plants are operating at minimal levels due to weak demand and downsizing staff at various location will also impact outbound trade, said industry officials.