Yangchen C Rinzin

Lockdown in India and border sealing affected Dungsam Cement Corporation Limited’s (DCCL) export and sale, according to its chief executive officer Sonam Jigme.

He said both production and sales have been impacted after March 21.

The latest figure with the company shows zero export sale and zero revenue from March 21 to April 12 compared to about 75,000MT sold from January 1 till March 21 where the company earned a revenue of about Nu 323 Million (M).

In the domestic sale, the report showed that a total of 81,280.07MT was sold from January 1 till March 21 earning Nu 488M. However, the company saw only 24,233.70MT of domestic sale with the revenue generation of Nu 143M after March 21.

Sonam Jigme said that although there is market for domestic product, sales have reduced by half because the products are supplied through internal routes, which has increased the transportation cost and price.

The cement, when transported through internal route, has to pass through Panbang, Trongsa, Thimphu and then to Phuentsholing.

“However, we managed to send six trucks carrying about 25MT of cement each through Indian highway to Sipsoo and Phuentsholing,” Sonam Jigme said. “Another 10 trucks were sent yesterday to Phuentsholing so that we could restock our godown, which has run out of stocks.”

DCCL produces three types of cement, which are portland pozzolana cement (PPC), ordinary portland cement (OPC) and portland slag cement (PSC).

Sonam Jigme said that although production of OPC would not be affected because the raw materials are available in Bhutan, the raw materials for PPC and PSC like flyash and slag are imported from India.

“We are already out of flyash and slag stock, as suppliers are not able to supply these critical raw materials due to lockdown in India,” he said. “It is also affected because of the restriction of movement of people for loading.”

The chief executive officer said that PPC and OPC are widely used in Bhutan while PSC is used for dam construction by PHPA I.

He said that although cement would be supplied to Gyalsung project sites and hydropower projects, the company’s hope of breaking even this year is hit hard due to Covid-19 situation.

“Although the company saw losses consecutively, there was some hope this year, as we had established links for export and was ready to supply,” he said, adding that even if the company supplies in domestic markets, the situation would remain the same, as there is no export.

Sonam Jigme said that to make profit, the company must be able to sell at least more than 700,000MT in a year, which is unlikely if the situation remains the same. “With Mangdechhu project completed and no new hydropower coming up, it would be difficult. However, we’re hopeful of break even if the Covid-19 situation improves within June.”

DCCL has the capacity to produce 3,000MT of clinker and 4,130MT of cement per day.