CCSIB Vice President Akçay: We will compensate for losses in strong markets with export growth in terms of tonnage.
Representatives of the cement sector, which is going through a challenging period on a global scale due to the contraction in demand caused by strict monetary and fiscal policies implemented primarily to combat inflation and the slowdown in the Chinese economy, came together at the INTERCEM conference held in Istanbul. Abdulhamit Akçay, Vice President of CCSIB, reminding that Turkey is the world’s largest exporter in the cement sector and the largest producer in Europe, stated, “The efforts of economic administrations around the world to build a resilient structure against inflation and cost shocks will yield positive results in the medium term. As a Turkish cement sector, as a result of this process that prepares an environment in which we can show more flexibility, we aim to maintain our position in the markets we are strong in, especially in the United States, and compensate for the losses we experienced this year in the West African market with an increase in exports in terms of tonnage in 2024.”
The 115th meeting of the INTERCEM conference, the meeting point of the international cement industry, is being held in Istanbul. The meeting in Istanbul, which hosts INTERCEM for the eighth time, is attended by approximately 480 industry representatives from more than 45 countries. The opening speech of the event, organized in cooperation with the Cement, Glass, Ceramics and Soil Products Exporters’ Association (CCSIB), was made by Abdulhamit Akçay, Vice President of CCSIB. After the opening, Akçay gave a presentation on “The Present and Future of the Turkish Cement Sector.”
Abdulhamit Akçay: “We will see the effects of strict economic policies in 2024.”
Abdulhamit Akçay, who stated that they predict that global growth in the cement sector will remain below 3% for this year, said, “We are all experiencing the effects of the slowdown in demand due to the slowdown in the Chinese economy, ongoing wars and economic crisis concerns in Europe. However, on the other hand, economic administrations worldwide are resolutely fighting to create a more resilient economic structure against inflation and cost shocks. There is an unwavering stance in monetary and fiscal policies. As a result, even though positive results at the same level cannot be achieved in every country, progress is being made slowly but surely, especially in the fight against inflation. We also see that volatility in energy markets is gradually decreasing. We anticipate that strict economic policies will continue for some time. This indicates that the slowdown in demand will continue in 2024. Undoubtedly, China’s performance in the coming period will be decisive in this regard.”
“We will adopt a stance that supports the cost management of consumers in our markets.”
Assessing the reflections of global economic developments on the Turkish cement sector, Akçay said, “Turkey is also experiencing the process that the world economies are going through. An economic model focused on combating inflation has been implemented, which has evolved from monetary expansion to monetary tightening. Limited liquidity and borrowing costs are important agenda items both in our country and around the world, which negatively affect trade volume and lead to a slowdown in demand. However, this struggle process, which we believe will yield positive results in the medium term, also prepares an environment where we can show more flexibility in the increasing competitive environment. In the sector, where we are the world’s largest exporter and Europe’s largest producer, taking into account the current conditions, we will adopt a stance that supports the cost management of our consumers in export markets and contributes to it.”
“The increased demand in the domestic market due to the earthquake will not affect our exports.”
Reminding that the Turkish cement sector prioritized the domestic market for the reconstruction of the region after the earthquake disaster on February 6, Akçay continued as follows: “Currently, efforts for the reconstruction of the region are continuing at full speed. As Turkish cement producers, we act with the responsibility to contribute to this structuring. As a result, there was a 16% increase in the domestic market. However, the extra demand created due to reconstruction will not affect our exports. With our annual production capacity of 120 million tons, service quality, product range, logistics power, and geographical advantages, we have the capacity to meet both domestic and foreign demand at the same time. Therefore, we will continue to fulfill all commitments and deliver our orders complete and on time as always.”
“We aim to increase exports in terms of tonnage.”
Stating that the Turkish cement sector has lost some competitiveness due to the impact of global contraction and the low energy cost advantage of countries, Akçay said, “As a result of this, we anticipate a 20% decrease in exports at the end of this year, taking into account the increased domestic demand after the earthquake. In 2024, we aim to regain this 20% loss. We predict that we will achieve this through deepening in the market and increasing exports in terms of tonnage.”
“We are ready to meet the demand for blended cement.”
Emphasizing that the fight against climate change and the green transformation process are another important agenda item for the sector on a global scale, Akçay said, “As the Turkish cement sector, we aim to contribute to the circular economy and focus on environmental sustainability. In this context, we are taking concrete steps in the use of alternative fuels, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. On the other hand, we have completed all our certifications and documentation for the production of blended cement, which has a much lower clinker ratio. We are currently capable of meeting all demands for blended cement. However, we expect sector representatives and legislators to guide the necessary efforts and support these efforts in their countries for the global acceptance of this product. With the cooperation of the sector and legislators, the cement industry can contribute to a sustainable future.”
The INTERCEM Istanbul meeting, where developments in the cement sector, including supply chain, production and raw material costs, decarbonization, Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism, and emission trading, are discussed with the participation of expert guests and industry representatives from Turkey and abroad, is being held in the exhibition area. The INTERCEM Istanbul meeting will end with the closing event on Thursday, September 7, at 17:45.