Saudi Arabia: Export ban on cement enforced rigorously
The sources said no cement or clinker bricks had been exported since the ban was imposed. Only Bahrain was exempted from the ban and receives about 25,000 bags of cement per week. The daily noted that some cement companies took advantage of the grace period that preceded the start of the ban to export large quantities of cement. Keen not to confuse or disturb the companies, the ministry told them beforehand it would impose a complete ban on exports of cement after three days. The ministry's notice was also aimed at enabling factories to coordinate with transporters. The sources said the ministry held a meeting with all cement manufacturers about a month ago and informed them it might decide to stop cement exports. Following the ban on exports, Al-Jouf Cement Company announced it had increased its prices to SR260 per ton from SR200. The company said this was done to reduce the losses it might incur as a result of the ban. The financial outcome of this step might show in the company’s accounts for the first quarter of the current year. The sources described the company’s measures to be legal and according to the ministry's rules and regulations. They said the quantity of 1.2 million tons of cement — previously exported every year — would now be injected in the local market. The ministry said it stopped exports in order to put an end to the cement crisis. It asked factories to produce at full capacity to provide enough cement for local consumers. The cement shortage in Makkah is expected to end with the ban on exports and the extra 10,000 tons of cement, produced for Makkah region every day.
Source: Arab News
Automotive sector in Morocco driving investment
The long-awaited opening of a new automotive assembly plant in February, in one of the country’s free zones, is testimony to the expansion of Morocco’s industrial base, as the country looks to develop its automotive and components sectors under the National Industrial Emergence Pact 2009-15, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG. Renault, which has had a presence in Morocco for more than 80 years, will begin operating at its new assembly plant in the Tanger Free Zone (TFZ) starting this month. The estimated €1bn unit is expected to produce 170,000 vehicles in its first year of operations and aims to reach 400,000 by 2014. The factory will start off with 2600 employees and expects this number to increase to 6000 by 2015. An increasing number of firms in Morocco’s automotive sector are located in free zones, particularly in the TFZ, the Atlantic Free Zone and Tanger Automotive City. In addition to the country’s proximity to Europe — Morocco’s main trading partner — and its available and skilled workforce, the advantages offered by these zones have made the country increasingly attractive as an industrial base. As a result, the growing investment the activity is attracting is expected to boost the sector’s contribution to GDP, creating jobs and providing a base for low-cost production to European markets, as well as other African nations. Indeed, Moroccan free zones welcomed several new automotive manufacturers in 2011. Among them is Spain’s Proinsur, which set up operations in the TFZ. Specializing in plastic injection and automotive parts, the company invested €2m to set up a 2500-sq–meter factory. Delphi Automotive, a vehicle components supplier operating in Morocco since 1999, has also expanded capacity at its Tangier plant, creating 1200 new jobs in 2011. France’s Inergy Automotive Systems and Japan’s Denso have invested €6m and €12m, respectively, for component systems in Tangier. The Atlantic Free Zone, located in Kenitra, has also seen a number of investments made by suppliers of automotive equipment. Japanese firm Yazaki, present in Morocco since 2000 and employing more than 8000 people, opened its third factory in late September, while Japanese company Fujikura and French firm Saint-Gobain have invested Dh165m (€14.6m) and Dh107m (€9.47m), respectively, in new production units. In May 2011, Lear Corporation, a developer of electrical power management systems for the automotive industry, announced a new electronics facility in Rabat. To meet the needs of these new projects, Morocco plans to train 70,000 new specialized graduates to enter the market by 2015. In September 2010, the French Development Agency granted Morocco €20m to boost vocational education in the sector, and in June an agreement was signed with the Korean International Cooperation Agency to contribute Dh105m (€9.29m) to help establish Casablanca's Institute of Advanced Training in Automotive Trades. However, although Morocco’s manufacturing base continues to expand, due to the curious quirks of global trade dynamics, more than 80% of production is exported. Since 2005 vehicle exports have increased on average by 20.3% per year, reflecting the industry’s expansion. In 2010, exports totaled Dh19bn (€1.7bn). Therefore, the import of vehicles is still required to meet domestic needs. In 2011, approximately 112,000 vehicles were sold in Morocco, with imports accounting for 99,733, a year-on-year (y-o-y) increase of 9.5%. The number of locally manufactured cars sold on the domestic market only accounted for 12,336, a y-o-y increase of 0.4%. The number of imported cars is likely to increase in the coming years if the decision to drop all Customs duties on new vehicles from the EU is enacted. Customs duties have been gradually decreased since 2003, and the decision to completely remove them on new vehicles entering the country from the EU is expected to be enforced in 2012. Imported cars from the US will also see Customs duties reduced from 15% in 2011 to 12% in 2012. Customs on imported cars from Asia will continue to stand at 17.5%. Prospects for the Moroccan automotive sector are promising, as investments continue to flow into the country and government efforts to expand the industry both locally and regionally are reinforced.
Source: Oxford Business Group
Maaden to invest $5.6 billion in phosphate project
State-controlled Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) plans to invest SR21 billion ($5.6 billion) in a phosphate project as part of a new industrial city in the country's north, the company's chief executive was quoted by Saudi state media as saying. Saudi Arabia's cabinet approved in its weekly cabinet on Monday the establishment of a new industrial city in the country's north - Waad Al-Shimal City for Mining Industries in which the new project in Umm Wual would be located. Maaden said recently the preliminary feasibility study to exploit phosphate deposits at Umm Wual proved viable. The Umm Wual project would add nearly 1.5 million tons annually of phosphorus oxide to Maaden's planned phosphate capacity. Khalid al-Mudaifer said the SR21 billion will cover the cost of extracting and treating the phosphate ore. It would also fund the building of seven new plants with a total production capacity of 16 million tons per year of phosphate concentrate, sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, as well as plants to produce calcium monophosphate and calcium diphosphate. Production is expected to start before the end of 2016, Mudaifer said. Saudi Arabia, home to the world's largest oil reserves, is keen to develop its mining industry to diversify the economy away from relying on oil. Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi was quoted as saying on state news agency SPA that the project would add SR15 billion in annual revenues to the gross domestic product (GDP). The phosphate ore is located near a gas field in Jalamid where extensive exploration is taking place. Feedstock and other fuel has been allocated to the Maaden's project, SPA quoted Prince Faisal bin Turki, adviser at the Saudi oil ministry, as saying, without specifying how much fuel or feedstock the project will use.
Top US honor for GPIC chairman
HRH Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa's Adviser on Industrial and Oil Affairs and Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) chairman Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa received top US honor for his leadership role in the company. US National Safety Council president and chief executive Janet Froetscher was in Bahrain to present the 'Campbell Shield' award. Shaikh Isa received the 'Campbell Shield' award on behalf of GPIC in the presence of the company director-general Abdulrahman Jawahery. After presenting the award, Froetscher underlined the role GPIC played in founding the Campbell Safety Institute – an establishment dedicated to promoting the standards of safety through scientific research and exchanging expertise. Froetscher and Shaikh Isa later discussed the goals which the council seeks to achieve – reduction of fatal work deaths, improving corporate performance and promoting the culture of safety.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Oman to spend $142 million on industrial estates
Oman’s Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) is implementing a range of projects to develop the infrastructure of the Sultanate's various industrial estates. The projects will cost over RO55 million ($142.8 million), said Hilal bin Hamad Al Hasani, CEO of the PEIE. The projects include the development of the Sumail Industrial Estate, which is expected to begin operation in the first half of the current year, at a cost of RO30 million; projects in Raysut Industrial Estate (RO3.5 million), Nizwa Industrial Estate (RO4 million), in addition to the implementation of the Ring Road for the Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM). Al Hasani noted that the government is adopting a set of strategies to stimulate the manufacturing industries. He informed that the total investments in the industrial estates have reached more than RO3.7 billion by the end of 2011, and the number of companies in these areas has exceeded 1,200. 'By the end of the year 2011, the existing projects have provided around 32,000 job opportunities, while the percentage of the national male workforce has touched 41 per cent, and the Omani women workforce has touched 13 per cent,' Al Hasani said.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
GPIC achieves new safety milestone
Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) said it had set a new record last year by registering more than 14.9 million man hours without accident since 2002. The company was able to manufacture 1.5 million tons of ammonia, urea and methanol, which was the highest annual output since the launch of the GPIC, said senior officials at the company's annual meeting. The urea plant achieved an annual record of 673,681 tons of production during 2011, which was the highest since it went on stream in 1998. A total of 1.1 million tons of products were exported on board 61 ships, they added.
Source: TradeArabia News Service