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Expansion project sparks job creation

by Ofentse Sefolo
Expansion project sparks job creation

The Coega Special Economic Zone (Coega SEZ), which is nestled in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality of South Africa, not far from Port Elizabeth, has served as an export hub and industry-friendly operating environment for more than 20 years.

A duty-free zone with tax incentives and rebates, Coega SEZ is also adjacent to the modern deep-water Port of Ngqura, a vital South African gateway to global markets.

“In 2010, Cemza, with the backing of German powerhouse Heidelberg Cement as part-owner, saw an opportunity. After eight years of careful planning and construction, Cemza began production at Coega SEZ in 2018 and has never looked back,” comments managing director, Tushar Agrawal.

The Cemza Manufacturing Plant, located in Zone 5 of the Coega SEZ, is valued at R600 million. It has a global partner footprint; and supplying the local market with locally manufactured cement bas brought much-needed homegrown capacity and quality to the South African market.

“Prior to our entry, there had been no investment in the cement sector in the Eastern Cape for many decades. The only existing plant was out of date in terms of technology,” comments Agrawal.

During the construction of the plant, more than 240 local jobs were created. The plant currently boasts more than 80 operational jobs and has been in operation for eight years.

A major differential for Cemza has been the introduction of slag-based cements. These products are especially suited to building in coastal environments, thanks to its reduced permeability, superior durability and resistance, and greater long-term compressive and flexural strengths.

Slag-based cement offers enhanced workability and is easier to use, and has a much friendlier environmental footprint than its conventional counterparts.

For Agrawal, this perfectly highlights the company’s approach to innovation, an injection which is much-needed in the local cement market.

For us as a proudly South African company serving our people, promoting skills and having a positive impact on the community that we operate in is as important as being the most trusted cement expert.”

And it is this ethos that will guide Cemza in its future growth and development. Its commercial success is enabling it to contribute even greater amounts of resources and time to the people and communities surrounding its operation in the Eastern Cape.

“But while volume growth has been slow, we see opportunities for expansion as a large portion of the existing capacity in the country is very old. There has generally been a lack of investment in the cement sector here, which has led to growth in imports.

“We are working on a strategy to expand our footprint into other provinces in South Africa. We are also working on opportunities for export of our products into neighbouring countries and the Indian Ocean islands.”

Sold in durable 50kg shrink-wrapped and palletised paper sacks, Cemza’s cement can cater for the entire cement spectrum – from general purpose 32,5N to premium 42,5N and ultra-strong 52,5N grades. As it stands today, Cemza is the regional supplier of high-quality, precision-engineered cement to the Eastern and Western Cape markets. They are offering a locally sourced alternative and a guarantee of consistency and reliable turnaround times.

For more information, visit www.cemza.co.

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