SUNBIZ

Pacific Cement Exports Not Feasible With Bridge Weight Restrictions

  The 18 tonne weight restriction on the Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge is making exports not feasible for Pacific Cement Limited. The company, owned by Fijian Holdings Group, exports close to 200
14 Jun 2016 11:42
Pacific Cement  Exports Not  Feasible  With Bridge Weight  Restrictions
The Tamavua-i-Wai bridge. Photo: Fiji Roads Authority

 

The 18 tonne weight restriction on the Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge is making exports not feasible for Pacific Cement Limited.

The company, owned by Fijian Holdings Group, exports close to 200 containers per month to the Pacific Island countries with each container weighing 25 tonne.

But because of the temporary weight restrictions, it now has to package half the containers, bring it to Suva side and then repack it to full 25 ton capacity.

Fijian Holdings Group chief executive, Nouzab Fareed, said: “As a result, our export is becoming not feasible – we are running at break-even.”

Mr Fareed said they did use the barge to send across some of their shipment but there needs to be enough volume to make using a barge feasible.

But, he said the shipping schedule is such that the ship doesn’t go to their export destination every week and it is spaced out.

So even if they take the container on a barge, there would be no place for storage as barge can take containers for immediate shipping.

Another thing Pacific Cement has had to do is send the containers across the bridge after midnight when there is no traffic.

Mr Fareed emphasised: “We are not blaming anybody but it is becoming a cumbersome process and our margins are becoming totally eroded.”

 

The solution suggested

Mr Fareed sees building an alternative closer route to Suva as the solution to this whole problem which can pop up again at any time.

“The solution only short term is fixing the bridge but in the long run, we need an alternative option to reach Suva avoiding Lami,” he said.

“There are a few bridges from Suva to Lami – this is only one – there are two more. So what happens if something else happens to the other bridges?”

Mr Fareed suggested Government could look at having a road from Namosi connecting into Suva as a permanent alternative.

 

Local cement supply

While the exports are being affected, local supply has also not been spared.

Standard Concrete, also a subsidiary of Fijian Holdings, cannot make concrete without cement and cement has to come from Lami and those also weigh over 25 tonne.

Standard Concrete has already advised customers that there will be temporary disruptions to the supply of ready-mix concrete from their Suva and Nasinu plants.

It said the repair works on the bridge is causing delaying in supply of their raw material (cement and aggregates) to the Suva and Nasinu plants thus limited their ability to meet the supply schedule.

Is said their cartage contractors have also added a surcharge on transportation of these raw materials to cater for additional logistical requirements as a result of the weight restrictions.

Feedback:  rachnal@fijisun.com.fj

 

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