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Cement Shortage Impacts On Road Projects

Cement Shortage Impacts On Road Projects
June 17
11:40 2017

The cement crisis is now affecting road projects by the Fiji Roads Authority.

This was confirmed by FRA chief executive officer John Hutchinson.

“The shortage of cement has a clear and direct impact on the Fiji Roads Authority and its projects principally through its contractors,” he said.

While FRA does not directly purchase cement, its contractors obviously require the material to undertake their work.

“So clearly lack of cement has an impact on their project delivery time.

“All our contractors are getting affected by this shortage principally those contractors that are involved in our maintenance work.”

These contractors are Higgins and Fulton Hogan Hiways including their sub-contractors which involve some 48 local companies.

“Also our contractors who are undertaking major capital projects and this involves Higgins Construction, China Railway First Group and China Railway Five Group,” Mr Hutchinson said.

China Railway First Group is currently working on the S3 Project which is four way widening of the Kings Road while China Railway Five Group is working on the SARUP 1 Project (The Suva Arterial Roads Upgrade Project).

Mr Hutchinson said some of the projects were on hold as a result of this shortage.

He gave the example of delays for the SARUP 1 project.

“The contractors were in the process of footpath rehabilitation through the sites which involved removing those sections of footpath that were damaged and replacing them.

“There is no concrete therefore the contractors cannot pour or replace those sections that they have removed.”

Mr Hutchinson said contractors were also exploring options of importing cement. However the cost differential between imported cement and locally sourced cement was quite high.

“They are looking at importing cement from Australia, New Zealand or other Pacific Island countries.”

FRA has conducted meetings with their contractors to discuss this issue.

“Most of the contractors have other work which they can work on for now but it does affect the overall delivery of the project.

“We will be working closely with our contractors if the shortage of cement continues for an extended period of time.

“It is disappointing that our cement supplies have been disrupted. I understand the cement factories are working very hard to get the production back in supply.”

Some of the FRA contractors we contacted yesterday were reluctant to talk because of their contractual obligations

China Railway 1st Group Fiji Limited said their management board have yet to  meet.

Fulton Hogan Hiways Joint Venture general manager, Duncan Fraser said they are contracted with FRA and they will not comment until he has first talked with FRA.

Higgins Construction general manager Dave Jacques said the cement shortage is causing concerns in terms of their work regarding stabilisation of roads.

“We have looked at the possibility of importing, asessing or trying to find out how long this continue.

“A decision will be made when the cement factory will start running to supply.”

Higgins Construction currently has two to three tonnes of cement in stock.

Meanwhile cement production at Tengy Cement Limited has yet to begin since Wednesday. An electrical glitch caused the problem.

Tengy Cement Limited is currently the only manufacturer of cement operational.

General Manager Hongyang Li said their engineers are working around the clock to address the problem.

Pacific Cement which dominated the market is out of action because of major machinery problems.

 

Feedback:  kathrin.krishna@fijisun.com.fj

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