Sarwar A Chowdhury
It is hard to pinpoint where and when the uses of cement were first discovered, or who invented it. Some say it was in ancient Rome, where engineers first used concrete made from volcanic rock and ground brick or pottery. Now, in modern times, concrete is a composite construction material composed of cement and other materials.
Regardless of when the use of cement began, cement has become the major construction material for many centuries in the world. From housing to infrastructure, cement is a must.
Cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together.
Many countries cannot produce enough cement to meet their internal demand, and they depend on imports. However, Bangladesh is self-sufficient in fulfilling local demand for cement. Even so, the installed production capacity is higher than local demand.
In Bangladesh, there are around 55 cement-manufacturing companies, most of which are in operations either on a large or small scale. A total of 34, including multinational cement manufacturers, are in commercial production.
The installed production capacity of the 34 cement factories is 1.85 crore tonnes a year, according to Bangladesh Cement Manufacturers Association (BCMA) data.
Cement consumption was 1.3 crore tonnes in 2009 and 1 crore tonnes in 2008. Consumption for 2010 has been estimated at 1.45 crore tonnes, the cement association data shows.
Dhaka and Chittagong account for nearly 65 percent of total consumption.
“We are self sufficient in cement production and meeting local demand. We don’t need to import cement, not even a single bag,” says Amirul Haque, managing director of Premier Cement.
“Bangladesh is over capacity. The entire industry and local demand is controlled and fulfilled by the Bangladeshi cement companies,” he says.
Some factors can manipulate the demand or consumption of cement to go up or down, as was seen in cement consumption in