7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Business News

Contractors seek ways of tackling sand crisis

3 Contractors seek ways of tackling sand crisis BY MANDEEP SINGH ,  Posted on » 04 November 2009

MANAMA: Contractors and sand suppliers are looking for alternative means to augment the Bahrain sand market after a decision by Saudi Arabia to ban its exports by the end of the month.

The contractors, suppliers and readymix company representatives, along with those from the Industry and Commerce and the Works Ministries, who met at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) premises in Manama, also agreed it would not have a major impact on the industry as the sand supply from Saudi Arabia was only 30 per cent of Bahrain's total monthly requirements of 300,000 tonnes.

"However, we are taking no chances and ensuring regular supply by the time the ban comes into effect," BCCI contractors committee head and board member Samir Nass said.

"We are co-ordinating our efforts to get grid from the UAE so that it can be mixed with the marine sand available in Bahrain."

He said the step should solve Bahrain's immediate problems after the ban comes into effect.

"The quality of this will not be as good but we shall make do with it."

Mr Nass said suppliers and other contractors were also in agreement on the measures to be taken.

GCC Land Transport Committee chairman at the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce as well as BCCI board member Abdulhakim Shammari said all sand suppliers were in agreement that they would be able to handle the situation 'without a problem' provided the government supported them with jetty facilities for loading and unloading sand.

"They were also keen the government assure that their investments would be protected long term in case they started imports of grid from the UAE," he said.

"The government representatives said they would take the matter to the higher authorities and were hopeful a solution would be found in the next few weeks."

Mr Shammari said the situation was under control at the moment and he hoped it would continue to be so.

Saudi Arabia had earlier declared it would stop exporting sand and gravel to Bahrain and other Gulf countries at the end of the month.

Mr Shammari had then said the ban, which comes into effect on November 26, follows an order from Saudi King Abdullah. However, the reason for the ruling was not immediately clear. The decision is another blow to Bahrain's construction industry after Saudi earlier banned the transport of cement and sand to Manama via King Fahad Causeway on October 1 to ease traffic congestion. Bahrain reportedly lost nearly BD35 million last year due to traffic jams on the causeway, with Gulf-wide losses believed to amount to a combined BD100m. [email protected]

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