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MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM) - 19/12/2004

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Ras Al Khaimah plans to invest Dh2 billion to expand its cement companies and ports to expand their capacity.

"These investments will be made available within the next three years," said Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah.

"The capacity of the Ras Al Khaimah cement companies Gulf Cement Company [GCC], Ras Al Khaimah Cement, Union Cement Company [UCC] and Ras Al Khaimah White Cement and Construction Company will increase from three million tonnes to around nine million tonnes once the expansion is completed," Shaikh Saud according to the Gulf News.

About 400 million (Dh1.5 billion) will be invested in the four cement companies to triple the country's cement capacity.

About 100 million (Dh367 million) will also be pumped into the emirate's ports to enhance their capacity, Shaikh Saud said.

As the construction boom continues to grip the country, cement companies have started looking closely at capacity expansion.

The country's 11 cement companies sold about 10.7 million tonnes of cement in 2003 at an estimated value of Dh1.75 billion.

Ras Al Khaimah has, over the years, emerged as the nation's leader in cement production.

It is not only a leading producer in the country, but a major player in the region.

Ras Al Khaimah accounts for half of the cement and clinker production in the UAE. Production facilities are running at almost full capacity, and exports are growing at a rapid pace.

According to estimates, cement exports comprised 10 per cent of cement sales in 2003.

Ras Al Khaimah accounts for almost 90 per cent of the UAE's cement exports.

Shaikh Saud said the government has appointed Rotterdam Engineering Company of Holland to conduct a feasibility study on the scope of increasing the handling capacity of Ras Al Khaimah's ports.

"While the plans involve creating another 500,000 TEU bulk handling capacity in the ports, the 10 million tonne container handling capacity will be raised to about 30 million tonnes," he said.

All three ports Mina Saqr port, Ras Al Khaimah Harbour and Al Jazeerah Harbour will get a facelift over the next several years.


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