Vietnam struggles to boost cement exports

By Bao Van, Thanh Nien News

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A file photo of a cement plant in Quang Ninh Province. Photo: Anh Vu/Thanh Nien A file photo of a cement plant in Quang Ninh Province. Photo: Anh Vu/Thanh Nien

Vietnamese cement producers have struggled to boost exports because of increasing competition from Asian rivals, which are also faced with oversupply just like Vietnam.
They said China is expanding exports amid an oversupply of 670 million tons a year, offering lower prices and worsening their own prospects.
Tran Viet Thang, general director of the Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (Vicem), said Chinese prices are $10 per ton lower.
With domestic cement consumption expected to increase 4 percent year-on-year to 56.5 million tons this year, Vietnam will have a surplus of 25 million tons.
“In this situation, many cement producers will have to cut or stop production if exports are not boosted.”
Vietnam exported some 16 million tons of cement mainly to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines last year.
While struggling with low-priced Chinese products, local cement makers are also facing fierce competition from Thai rivals who offer quality products and rapid transportation, industry insiders said.
There are no dedicated ports and logistics systems to serve cement exports in Vietnam. Most cement factories are located far from seaports, meaning they find it hard in transport to ports at reasonable prices.
The Vietnam National Shipping Lines used to suggest that cement producers should cooperate with the Electricity of Vietnam and the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group to hire ships: The two companies would transport coal imported from Indonesia to Vietnam, while cement producers would use the same vessels to ship to the Philippines.

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