KOTA KINABALU (December 23): Kota Kinabalu Hardware, Machinery and Building Materials Traders Association (KKHMBA) President Dato ‘Stanley Tee urged Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd to seek additional raw material suppliers to remedy the the cement shortage.
He said the cement shortage would hamper development projects in Sabah.
As the only cement plant in Sabah, he said Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd should put in place contingency plans by seeking more suppliers of cement raw materials and clinker, as well as training local technicians who can solve the problems of the production line. .
Tee said this after a courtesy visit to General Manager of Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd Hj Sumardi Mohd Yusof, Production Manager Rajesh Datuk Hj Yusof and Marketing Manager Melvyn Yong, where the association was briefed on the reasons for the cement shortage.
“According to Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, several factors have contributed to the cement supply shortage in the market, including the delay in shipping clinker and faulty machinery on the production line.
Tee said the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the import of spare parts from Japan and Germany and the lack of local specialist technicians to repair the machines has hampered production.
In addition, he said that a packaging service employee contracted Covid-19 in November, leading to the home quarantine of more than 30 workers.
“This affected the packaging of the 50 kilogram (kg) bag, but the cement that did not require packaging was not affected.”
Tee said Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd was handling the issues, including 24-hour production line management.
He said packaging workers would work 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
He added that the company’s Lahad Datu plant would produce 1,800 tonnes of cement per day while its Sepanggar plant would produce 2,000 tonnes per day from the 50 kg bag.
In addition, he said the factory would produce 60 trucks of giant bags of cement every day.
Tee said Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd is expected to restore cement supply by the end of December and fulfill all orders placed.
On another note, Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd recently announced on November 18 that it will increase the price of bulk cement by RM45 / tonne. The company attributed the exchange rate, raw material sourcing, escalating logistics and ocean freight costs to rising prices. The last price increase of RM20 per metric ton was 13 years ago in 2008.
Tee urged the cement factory to improve management, employee attitudes, crisis management, sourcing, secure additional raw material suppliers and train local technicians alongside its price hike.
He said the cement shortage will affect equipment, machinery, building material traders as well as developments in Sabah.