Malaysia: CMS Cement Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) is embarking on an expansion programme with an initial investment of US$47m in an effort to meet the growing demand for cement.
"We are still doing the actual costing but when the programme is done we are optimistic of coping with the increasing demand from the state and particularly from construction activities in its regional development corridor, the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy," said CMS Group Managing Director Datuk Richard Curtis. "The state's annual need is 1.66Mt/yr and in the last five years, it has registered increases of 10-15%."
Speaking at the opening of the company's new 6000t US$7m Sibu bulk cement terminal, Curtis said, "We will expand our Kuching and Bintulu plants to be able to produce 2Mt/yr of both Portland and Cemplast Masonry cement by either late 2013 or early 2014. For our Kuching clinker plant, a new production line will be added to boost raw material production from 0.65Mt to 0.8Mt by middle of the year," he said.
The Kuching plant, set up in 1978, has an annual capacity of 1Mt/yr and caters to the Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman and Sibu markets. On the other hand, its Bintulu plant in Kidurong, produces 0.75Mt/yr and caters to the rapidly growing north-east region. Curtis said that the plan was to increase the Kuching plant output by another 0.4-0.5Mt/yr and increase that of Bintulu by 10%. He said it was much cheaper for the state to be able to produce its own cement rather than relying on imports from elsewhere in Malaysia.
Regarding the Sibu facility Curtis said that it represented a significant investment in upgrading the company's cement distribution capabilities statewide. "The distribution of fresh cement to the Sibu, Kapit, Mukah and Sarikei areas is made more reliable. Bulk cement manufactured in the Kuching plant is now being transported, using a fully-enclosed dust-free pneumatic pipeline on to one of the two dedicated purpose built 7000 DWT barges and barged to Sibu," he said.
Curtis added the all weather barges were built and operated for CMS by Shin Yang Shipping Sdn Bhd, one of the state's top shipbuilders. "Each of them is equipped with Sweddish-made fully enclosed dust-free pneumatic self-loading/unloading system and has a fully-enclosed cargo hold fitted with aeration panels and a fluidised cement transfer system.
Curtis used the opportunity to reassure customers in the region that although it is the only cement supplier in Malaysian Borneo, CMS would do its utmost to cope with the demand and to deliver as scheduled. "We will be constantly upgrading our facilities and delivery systems in order to give the best service. In the last five years, we have invested more than US$160m to do so," he said.
CMS had earlier said that it was looking to 'dominate' the cement market in Malaysian Borneo, a region that is significantly less developed than the western Peninsular region.