Vietnam exported more than 21 million tonnes of cement in 2014, but this year is forecast to be full of difficulties as demand stalls at traditional markets while many regional cement producing countries plan to raise output remarkably.

The Import-Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade reported at a workshop on cement export on April 23 that the country has 106 cement plants with total design capacity of 82 million tonnes a year, while domestic demand stands at around only 50 million tonnes.

Representatives from the Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (VICEM) said the sector hopes to boost export to reduce the amount of cement stockpile.

However, the corporation is worried about strong increases in cement production in regional markets such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, China and India, while demands for Vietnam’s clinker show no sign of rising in traditional buyers like Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Deputy Director of The Vissai Ninh Binh group Nguyen The Dat said it would be difficult to export the same amount of cement as in 2014 from now on, as Vietnam cannot compete against other cement exporters, including the RoK, China, Japan and Thailand in terms of prices, transport cost and logistics service.

He added that unhealthy competition among domestic exporters also causes damages to the sector as a whole.

Dat suggested the ministry set up a special team to connect cement businesses and support the sector in terms of market information and forecast.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh stressed that domestic businesses should collaborate to improve their competitive capacity.

He said the ministry will work with the Construction Ministry to complete a development master plan for the cement sector and coordinate with businesses to balance supply and demand. The ministry will also collaborate with related agencies and organisations to address difficulties facing cement exporters.

Le Van Toi, Director of the Construction Materials Department under the Construction Ministry, called for investment in building special ports for cement and clinker products.-VNA