Building boom continues in Qatar

At the consumption growth rate of 24.34 percent in 2007-2008 demand for cement and other building materials in Qatar is still running at record levels, Malcolm Shelbourne, Chief Executive of Intercem told an international cement conference and exhibition here yesterday.

He said the global cement industry has taken the brunt of the global financial crisis with demand in the developed world failing by as much as 20 to 30 percent. The developing world’s cement industries have fared a little better and it is hoped that they are able to ride out this particular crisis, Shelbourne said in his welcoming address at the Intercem Doha, the 7th international conference on the trade, transportation and handling of cement and related products within the MENA region which opened yesterday.

“Qatar is one of the few countries in the world where construction projects carry on, seemingly unaffected by the raging financial storm,” he said. INTERCEM is being held in Qatar for the first time. The two-day event in which participants from 50 countries are attending is being sponsored and supported by the Arab Union for Cement and Building Materials (AUCBM) and the Qatar National Cement Company (QNCC).

According to Kamel M Al Khatib, QNCC Production Manager, the global financial crunch has not affected the company’s daily sale and given the number of government projects demand for cement is expected to increase.

Cement consumption in Qatar grew by 24.34 percent in 2007-2008 at 3,380 KG per capita per annum as per the QNCC data.

Ahmad Al Rousan, General Secretary of the Arab Union for Cement and Building Materials (AUCBM) told reporters that the booming construction industry in the Arab world has pushed the demand for cement to record levels in the last few years rising by between 10 percent and 15 percent to as high as 20 percent like in Qatar.

However, he warned that with many countries adding production when taken together has the potential to create a major regional cement surplus especially in 2010 with little or no market to absorb the excess volume given that world production of cement is expected to reach 3 billion tonnes.

He said the overall designed production capacity of cement has reached 182 million tonnes of cement in 2007 while the actual production stood at 154 million tonnes, while the total annual cement consumption in the Arab world was 160 million tonnes or an increase of 11 percent between 2005 and 2007.

Al Rousan also pointed out that in response to the unprecedented demand the cement industry in the Arab world has embarked on massive capacity expansion drive with some 100 new cement plants with a designed capacity of 150 million tonnes are currently under construction.

He said the current and future production capacity of cement in the Arab world is expected to exceed 300 million tonnes by 2011.

The Peninsula

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