Overcapacity of cement at Ohorongo
OTAVI, 11 APR – The Ohorongo Cement manufacturing plant has an overcapacity of one million tonnes of cement, due to the drop in construction activities caused by the country’s current poor economic situation.
This was revealed by its Managing Director Hans-Wilhelm Schütte during a media tour of the plant at Otavi on Tuesday.
He explained that the company is looking for other markets, such as Angola to which it can export the cement, though this is currently difficult due to strict border controls and other factors.
Botswana, Schutte noted, is another potential country that has not established a meaningful cement industry, relying on imports.
However, the transport distance from Namibia to the main markets in Botswana is longer than from other neighbouring countries, such as South Africa (SA) to Botswana, which makes it economically not viable.
He said currently, Ohorongo cannot export to markets in SA as that country is also experiencing an excess of cement.
“We looked at west and east Africa and Egypt, and in terms of international markets, we cannot compete immediately,” Schutte noted.
He reflected that Namibia had a very stable growth in the construction industry after independence, adding that the industry forecasts growth in 2019 and 2020, but at a very slow pace.
Ohorongo employs 282 people and despite the drop in cement sales, no job losses have been experienced thus far, according to the company.