THE Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) Group reports an uptick in requests for concrete road paving in Trinidad and Tobago, with four confirmed public projects slated for this year.

TCL’s managing director, Francisco Aguilera Mendoza, made these comments in the company’s annual report, which was posted on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange on Monday.

“In Trinidad and Tobago, key engagement with government agencies and large contractors on concrete roads continues in public private partnerships (PPP) for 2024. In 2023, 13 private sector road construction projects were completed resulting in a converted cement volume of 330MT. Public sector dialogue and advocacy proved to be successful with four confirmed public projects awarded and will be executed in 2024. The first one commenced in Q1 on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway Upgrade project. In 2024, the targeted sales of cement for road construction of 200MT/year remains with the focus shifting to public sector projects,” Mendoza stated.

He also mentioned that the TCL Group is exploring opportunities to expand its concrete road paving operations in Jamaica.

“In Jamaica, we continue to advocate for the use of concrete road construction. In 2023, we again partnered with the government to construct another 14 kilometres of cement stabilised marl base for construction of the Montego Bay Perimeter Road,” he said.

“Additionally, we have partnered with Paradisiac, which will begin coloured concrete road construction including stamped concrete driveways. We were also successful in partnering with Stanley Consultants Jamaica to use concrete for highway roads at Rosselle in the parish of St Thomas. This project has been completed and is now open to the public. The National Works Agency successfully implemented rigid pavement in key areas along two class B roadways which have been severely affected by flood damage in the past. Another significant milestone is the partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, through the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation to construct its first concrete road in the Bull Bay area in Kingston,” Mendoza stated.

Regional Powerhouse

Mendoza reiterated that despite the challenges faced, the TCL Group remains an “export powerhouse”.

“In Trinidad and Tobago, we saw growth of 5.6% in cement volumes over 2022 as the construction segment settled into the post-pandemic phase and also benefited from a drier rainy season in the last quarter of 2023. Trinidad Cement Limited experienced an increase of 6.3% in domestic sales volumes over 2022 and recaptured 100% of market share,” Mendoza stated.

“Larger infrastructural projects contributed significantly to the overall growth with a 14% increase, while the residential/ small construction segment showed a marginal increase—less than 2%, as demonstrated in our bag/sack sales. In early 2024, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago advised on the temporary suspension of the Quota and Registration System for Cement, specifically, removal of the 150,000 metric tonne (MT) quota on imported volumes. Imported cement will, in the interim, continue to be subject to a 20% Common External Tariff (CET) rate of duty,” he stated.

Mendoza stated that Trinidad and Tobago’s cement export volume fell by almost 11% compared to 2022 due to supply chain constraints and an increase in local market demand.

“This drop in cement exports was almost fully compensated by our clinker exports to Barbados that started last year after Arawak Cement’s change in its operating model. Despite this, and as recognised during the recent Cemex Day investors’ event, the TCL Group remains an Export Powerhouse because of exports of 545,000 MT of cement over the past two years to the Caribbean region. We will continue to fully serve our local markets, whilst pursuing opportunities for growth in the export segment through improvement in plant efficiencies and supply chain expansion,” he said.

East Lake helps increase

concrete sales by 43%

“In the concrete division, sales volumes at Readymix (West Indies) Ltd (RML) increased by 43% in 2023 compared to the previous year, driven primarily by the development of our East Lake Housing project, and participation in other relevant infrastructural projects,” Mendoza stated.

“In the aggregates division, third-party sales were negatively impacted earlier in the year due to product and plant limitations and availability. However, there was a significant recovery in the second semester of 2023 due to diligent focus on mining and product availability, which translated to an overall increase of 33% of our volumes in 2023 compared to 2022. We will continue to focus on the supply of aggregates to all available markets. It is anticipated that for 2024, we will continue to grow in all sectors, as demand is expected to increase for road paving and concrete projects. RML continues to be devoted to providing affordable, high-quality concrete solutions and innovative technologies while remaining customer focused,” he said.

Mendoza stated that the TCL Group will continue to be “fully aligned to Cemex’s ‘Future in Action’ programme,” which focuses on the achievement of sustainable excellence through climate action, circularity, and natural resource management.

“Our primary aim is to become a net zero CO2 company by 2050 through the implementation of specific strategies based on 6 fundamental pillars: Sustainable Products & Solutions; Decarbonising our Operations; Circular Economy; Water; Biodiversity & Other Emissions; Innovation & Partnerships; and Promoting a Green Economy,” Mendoza stated.

“In executing our CO2 roadmap in 2023, we further reduced our carbon emissions by 24.6 Kgs from 2022 (3pp net), proving our firm commitment to net-zero emissions. This was primarily driven through a reduction of 0.8pp in our clinker factor, and 1.5pp in plant heat consumption. We will continue to implement strategies aligned to Cemex’s target to reach around 430kg CO2 per mt cementitious products, an approximate 47pp reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. In Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica, we have already begun to reap dividends through this strategy, having realised a reduction in our carbon footprint through our Vertua portfolio and the introduction of Type HE (High Early) cements in Jamaica,” Mendoza stated.

Mendoza stated that the TCL Group has also continued to explore different and new sources of alternative fuels.

“In Trinidad and Tobago, we continue to advance in our plans with the Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Ltd (SWMCOL) to utilise the misplaced resources of local landfills, diverting waste into energy conversion in TCL’s kilns. We have also expanded our role in providing an urban solution for various waste types, such as the coprocessing of waste from the Kingston Harbour Clean Up project in collaboration with Clean Harbours Jamaica Ltd., and the use of clay brick waste from our industrial customers in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

“We have also set ambitious targets across the Group to become ‘Zero Waste Plants’ as we recognise the value of leading by example and the benefits of enhancing circularity that can mitigate our ‘own waste’ impact. In Barbados, we are now extending our producer responsibility by exploring the opportunity of Concrete Demolition and Excavation Waste (CDEW) management at one of our quarries. In this way, we can close the gap on the impact of concrete waste and potentially, in the future, valorise this waste through circularity. We continue to undertake other initiatives across the entire cluster such as beach cleanups, which in the case of Jamaica, the waste is being disposed of in our cement kiln,” he stated.

Mendoza stated that in 2023, the TCL Group remained focused on addressing dust emissions.

And with that goal in mind, US$7 million will be invested in dust abatement for Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago from 2024.

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