High demand for cement in south-central parishes

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A number of hardware stores in south-central Jamaica are complaining that they have not been able to meet cement demand over recent days because of what some are calling a “shortage” of the vital construction material.

However, Chad Bryan, communication and social impact coordinator at Carib Cement — the country’s sole cement manufacturing company— told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that there is no cement shortage.

Instead, he said, “booming construction” across the country had resulted in increased demand and possible “logistics issues” which may have triggered a false perception in the market place.

“There is really no cement shortage … Based on booming construction in the country, if you look in the Corporate Area you will see a lot of high-rise development,” he said.

“The perceived shortage may be logistics issues, but other than that there is no cement shortage… We have been adequately resourcing the market,” he added.

A proprietor of a hardware store in Santa Cruz who asked not to be identified said the supply of cement is not enough.

“The loads of cement coming into Santa Cruz are inadequate. I have been out of cement from last week,” he said.

A supervisor at another hardware in Mandeville shared similar sentiments as he said, “it has been short since last week”.

Several hardware stores said yesterday they had no cement in stock.

“I got cement Monday and it was done in no time…There is a mad rush for [cement]. People come in and I cannot give everybody even though I would like to. I have to be limiting each person to five bags of cement or even three,” said one hardware owner.

In Clarendon, a number of hardware stores said they have been running out of cement frequently.

Meanwhile, Bryan referred to an Observer business report, published on March 26, which said Carib Cement was now seeking to maximise production capacity as it prepares to satisfy increases in domestic demand.

He said the company is optimising the supply chain to improve delivery.

“Because of the demand it puts a pressure on us to deliver on the same day. There is a demand in the request for cement. We are working on it as we speak. We are optimising the supply chain to improve the delivery,” he said.

— Kasey Williams

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