Ecocem opens new terminal to cater for UK demands

Irish cement maker to invest €5m into terminals as it moves into booming British market

Ecocem: even though the company is just about to enter the UK market, founder Donal O’Riain said, it has already got orders for 200,000 tonnes of product for its first year and is not taking any further orders. Photograph:  David Sleator

Ecocem: even though the company is just about to enter the UK market, founder Donal O’Riain said, it has already got orders for 200,000 tonnes of product for its first year and is not taking any further orders. Photograph: David Sleator

 
Ecocem

The booming market for cement in the UK, combined with changes to its coal and steel sectors that have hit supplies of the type of cement Ecocem produces, are behind the move.

Ecocem produces its cement using slag from steel furnaces in a process that entails less carbon production than traditional production methods. The UK has recently closed one of three major steel plants and the fortunes of the remaining two are in question, while it is also in the process of closing down its coal-burning energy stations, which also produce a byproduct that can be used to make cement.

The twin developments, along with a significant short age in the capacity of the UK to supply its own cement demands, is creating increased opportunities for the Irish cement maker, according to its founder Donal O’Riain.

200,000 tonnes

The establishment of a second terminal to service South East England will give Ecocem access to 80 per cent of the UK market. Ecocem will service the market from its plants in the Netherlands and in Dublin, with the latter plant now working at full capacity.

The numbers employed at the latter plant are to increase by five to 28. The investment in the two UK terminals is approximately €5 million.

Demand

The market is one of the earliest to use the type of cement produced by Ecocem and has plenty of customers who are in search of it. Ecocem produces GGBS or ground granulated blastfurnace slag cement.

It opened its Dutch plant in 2002 and the following year opened a plant in Dublin Port. A third facility is located in Fos in the south of France.

It also sells bagged GGBS cement in the Irish market. Last year the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission raided the offices of Irish Cement, Ireland’s largest cement company, as part of an inquiry into possible anti-competitive practices in the bagged cement market. Irish Cement is part of CRH plc, Ireland’s largest listed company.

CRH is currently challenging the retention by the commission of emails seized during the raid that were connected with CRH rather than Irish Cement.