Efficiency improvement crucial for cement industry: experts

14:20 | 03/03/2019 Industry

Production and sales of cement and clinkers of Vietnam have risen in recent years. But to maintain the growth, experts suggested that the industry should make comprehensive reforms, apply advanced technology to improve production and optimise the efficiency of natural resources.

A cement production line of the Vicem Hoang Thach Cement Co., Ltd

In 2018, cement exports hit a record of more than 30 million tonnes, along with about 64 million tonnes sold at home, raising the total supply of the industry to about 95 million tones.

Le Thanh Long, Director of Vicem Hoang Thach Cement Company Limited, the surge in cement exports was due to a rise in demand in foreign markets like China and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the price of cement and clinker in the world market also rose from 31 USD to 41 USD per tonne in late 2018, encouraging firms to increase their exports.

Last year, the Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (VICEM) operated at 95 percent of its capacity, with an output of 29.2 million tonnes, up 10 percent year on year.

VICEM exported 18 percent of its total production, with 70 percent cement, enjoying a 10 percent rise in total revenue to 37 trillion VND and an 11 percent increase in profit at 3 trillion VND.

The promotion of cement exports has helped ease domestic sales pressure.

Nguyen Quang Cung, Chairman of the Vietnam Cement Association, said that currently, the cement industry’s supply is no longer overwhelming. The increase in domestic sales and exports has helped balance the market, he said.

However, Cung said the industry will face risks if it sees export as a major future plan as many importers apply defence measures, causing difficulties for Vietnamese firms.

Experts said cement production should be kept at 14-15 million tonnes per year. Meanwhile, in 2019, the industry plans to export 20-25 million tonnes of cement and clinker.

However, cement is an energy-costing industry which uses resources that are not renewable. Last year, the sector had to import coal for its production due to a shortage of domestic supply. In the year, coal prices increased twice, while the price of Vietnamese cement in the global market remained low to maintain competitiveness. The situation requires the sector to renovate its technology to cut costs.

VICEM General Director Bui Hong Minh said the firm is taking steps to apply modern technology, save natural resources and protect the environment.

The Ministry of Construction has built plans to increase the use of trash from thermal power plant as well as chemical and fertiliser factories as materials for construction.

Domestic firms’ efforts to modernise their production chain are expected to enhance the efficiency of the industry and help it grow sustainably.

Theo VNA