Ja getting cement

A shipment of 5,000 tonnes of cement is scheduled to leave for Jamaica from Cuba on October 12 to help ease demand for the product, Industry and Commerce Minister Karl Samuda said.

This will form the first monthly shipment of a total 40,000 tonnes from Cuba.

Mr. Samuda, who spoke at the post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said the shipment is part of a deal with the Cuban government. He said it was one of the steps being taken to ensure the construction sector is fully supplied, heading into the Christmas season.

He said Caribbean Cement Company Limited, sole manufacturers of cement locally, is also looking t sources to satisfy its clientele.

The minister disclosed that CCCL would bring in shipments totalling 18,000 tonnes from Colombia and Dominica. This week, 9,000 tonnes will arrive from Colombia, while 9,000 tonnes will arrive from Dominica by month end.

Last month, the management of CCCL said it was unable to meet the monthly demand from consumers for 83,000 tonnes of cement. CCCL’s marketing manager, Alice Hyde, said Hurricane Dean, which struck Jamaica on August 19, had severely hampered production at the company’s Rockfort plant.

Ms. Hyde said the company’s maximum monthly output was 75,000 tonnes.

This is the second time in just over 12 months that the Government has had to look overseas for cement.

In March 2006, CCCL recalled more than 500,000 tonnes of cement after clients complained that the product was substandard.

During the slump, shipments of cement came in from Cuba and Venezuela.

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