Cement Supply Comes to a HaltBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 04/03/2020 - 14:52
Mexican industry has undergone a temporary suspension of activities to follow sanitary procedures that prevent the spread of COVID-19. This cease in activities now also includes production of cement. According to a report from Milenio, the National Chamber of Cement (CANACEM) has informed its clients that due to the combination of sanitary measures and work conditions that pertain to the cement industry, all cement companies are forced to shut down their operations today and stop supply to public and private construction sites by tomorrow, along with a total of 62,000 hardware stores all over the country. CANACEM members include some of Mexico’s most prominent companies, such as CEMEX, Holcim (APASCO), Cemento Cruz Azul, Cementos Moctezuma and Cementos Fortaleza. In a letter to the Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer, CANACEM President Jaime Rocha Font explained that the shutdown had originally been ordered at the end of March but cement plants need to follow a lengthy and careful mechanical protocol to be turned off. If this protocol is not followed, these plants risk damaging heavy machinery and general equipment, particularly industrial furnaces used in cement production.
Suspended operations are expected to be reactivated in April 30. Such suspension follows the designation of cement production as a non-essential activity in the sanitary emergency declaration published on March 31. Debate reports that Hernán García, Director General of the National Institute of Development and Training for Small and Medium Enterprises (INFOPYME), declared that the social impact of this measure will be extensive. Halted construction sites means millions of construction workers without a paycheck, not to mention the suspension of all development activities for all sectors including health, unless cement reserves are administered wisely. This does not mean that all machinery from cement companies will be abandoned. El Horizonte reports that CEMEX trucks are being used in designated municipalities to spread disinfectant soap over the surfaces of public plazas.