‘Rock Hard has driven down cement prices’
The five-month old cement company, Rock Hard Cement, is taking credit for a drop in the price of the product on the market, as well as an improvement in its quality.
The company began operating here in mid-November last year with a promise to produce “quality cement on a consistent basis . . . at an acceptable price”. Its entrance brought an end to the monopoly enjoyed by the St Lucy-based Arawak Cement Company Limited.
In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY this morning, Chief Executive Office Mark Maloney said that cement prices have dropped by 30 per cent since his company came on the scene.
Maloney said when Rock Hard entered the local market cement was being sold at US$220 per tonne, but the price has since fallen to US$160 per tonne.
At the same time, he said, there has been an improvement in the quality of both the product and customer service.
“Equally as important to the reduction in cost is the consistency of the quality of the cement,” he said, adding that prior to Rock Hard’s entrance there was a “this is the product and this is the price; take it or leave it” attitude.
“But you couldn’t have left it before because you had no choice. So now the ‘take it or leave it’ approach doesn’t work,” he said.
Maloney also contended that his company had already claimed close to 65 per cent of the market share, a claim that Barbados TODAY could not immediately verify.
When Barbados TODAY first broke news a year ago of the entrance of the new company and plans for the construction of a cement plant just off Spring Garden Highway, concerns were raised about the likely environmental impact.
However, the company’s executive has sought to allay people’s worries, stating that there was no basis for such fears.
“Perception always become reality in someone’s mind when someone makes a statement that has been made about us because you have these giants and these monopolies that have been operating and taking advantage of the societies that they operate in for so many years. And someone comes along to make a difference and they will try their best to speak negatively,” said Maloney.
“There are processes for everything that we do and we follow the processes in getting the necessary studies done that need to be done for us to set up our operation. It is pretty much a dust-free environment. What we are doing is we are bringing in cement in different forms and then we are transferring them from one form to the other. And [for] that process there is a plant, there are filtration systems and all kinds of different stages of taking the cement and transferring it from one form to the other and there is absolutely zero environmental impact to what we do. No dust,” he explained.
Maloney did not disclose the cost of the new facility, but said it would cost “tens of millions” of dollars.
A similar, but larger, plant is being built in Trinidad and Tobago. Maloney said there were also plans to distribute the product to other territories including Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Suriname, the Eastern Caribbean, the French-speaking nations and South America. (MM)