Bolivian cement production going down and our growth is limited…

One of our most active internal industries is Real State, specially in Santa Cruz, followed by the rest of the country. It generates employment not only in construction but around all services and furniture needed for the household or the office.

Around this time, every year we began to experience shortages in cement production, smoke from slush and  burn practices and liquid gas shortfalls for the household. They have become almost cyclical and apparently they are not going to change…

Juan Carlos Salinas Cortez writes for El Deber:

Falling production and cement speculation

Shortage. Factory Itacamba dropped its usual range to the minimum and hardware stores promote speculation. There are long lines for the product.

Impotence and rage, that’s the feeling of hundreds of people who, for the last two weeks ago, pilgrimage or make rows for 15 hours to buy five bags of cement.

This cement supply crisis is explained by two factors. The first is the result of the ‘ingenuity in the wrong way’ from the owners of hardware stores and retailers who buy product in official agencies to Bs56 and resell it at a cost ranging between Bs70 and Bs85.

The second, said Marcelo Alfaro, Manager of the Bolivian Institute of cement and concrete (IBCH), is that the cement company Itacamba due to a trouble in the Brazilian customs, cannot import clinker (raw material for manufacturing cement) and that caused that in July, 221,000 bags did not reach the Santa Cruz market place. [for one reason or another, shortage have been happening over the last three years]

In this regard, Fernando Tuma, shareholder of the Itacamba cement, remarked the factory gives forced license to their workers since its production had a significant decline.

In turn, Felix Salek, regional manager of Soboce, stressed that Warnes grew by 22%, but that this percentage does not cover the Santa Cruz demand, which increased by 12%. He noted that an expansion of the factory is planned.

On the other hand, Fancesa offers its products to Bs56. That leads that every day several people, in some cases contracted by hardware stores to shop ‘by unit’ and then resell more expensive or in some cases transfer their row space for Bs100. [speculation at its best]

Rolando Lopez, who came from the double track to La Guardia (6 km away), detests and regrets that by night he has to be awake [stay in line] and by day go tired to work. He says that he is building at home and five bags does not suffice for anything.

An inquiry  through the Villla Primero de Mayo, Plan Tres Mil and Alto San Pedro found that hardware stores offer the brand El Puente and Yura is offered from Bs70 and that a person can take between two and four bags.

From the Mayor’s Office, they indicated that the unjustified increase in the cost of cement will be punished and prepare brigades that will be operational to curb speculation. [easier say than done, must do something more proactive]

The IBCH pointed out that Santa Cruz’s January-June production was 479,153 tons (t), however the domestic demand slightly outstrips supply which is 1.6 million tons.

It was also reported that for the 100% of the national supply of cement, 70% goes to hardware stores and official agencies and the rest to the builders.


Mario Galarza – Citizen

Hoping to be able to buy some bags of cement, Galarza with an old armchair and a blanket for a long day of row in the doors of the Agency of Fancesa in the third ring of the Abasto area. As well as, a hundred people wrapped in duvets are preparing to spend the night. They demand for more control.

Basilia Chilo – Citizen

Came from the twin-track 14 kilometer to La Guardia, accompanied by her sons, who also stand in line,  with the hope of receiving a few extra bags. As she explains, she is building a small house and already is under the duress for two nights to get a few bags of cement and pay only Bs56 and not Bs85.

2 responses to “Bolivian cement production going down and our growth is limited…

  1. This story was dated August of 2012, and is due for an update, I think. What has happened since to the price, availability of both clinker and cement, and the prediction that Bolivia was doomed to an era of ‘limited growth’? Might make an interesting retrospective article–hint, hint.

    • Thank you for your update, the post you refer to, was a translation of a newspaper article. Whenever an update appears on this issue, I will post that one too. Nevertheless, I welcome your input, thank you SO much!

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