Tank-Weld to transport cement by sea under CCC deal

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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CARIBBEAN Cement Company (CCC) Limited and Tank-Weld Metals confirmed on Monday that the two companies have come to an agreement for Tank-Weld Metals to distribute locally produced Carib Cement to the Jamaican market.

The companies, in a joint release, said that the agreement was aimed at maximising the resources of both companies.

It will also "enhance efficiencies, create local jobs, and be beneficial to customers, the travelling public, and the environment", they said.

The value of the deal was not shared. It is estimated, however, that through this partnership, CCC now has near 100 per cent of the local market for cement.

Tank-Weld, a diversified firm within the construction industry, is more than 45 years old. The company owns its own port and has a long-term charter of break bulk vessels.

It previously imported cement for distribution.

CCC meanwhile has declined to comment on complaints by shareholder Michael Subratie, who has written to the Jamaica Stock Exchange about the delayed announcement of the deal.

In a letter addressed to Marlene Street-Forrest, general manager of the stock exchange, Subratie cited CCL's lack of disclosure of its volume breakdown in recent financial statements.

"There is speculation in the market that Tank-Weld has ceased importing cement and is instead now purchasing from CCC. If this is the case, then it is a material fact... The concern then arises that CCC is not being transparent to the public about significant business developments within its operations. CCC is also removing detail in its statements that it has furnished in the past. I request, as a minority shareholder, that the Jamaica Stock Exchange review the actions taken by CCC to remove details in its financial reporting and determine if this is acceptable and fair to all shareholders," Subratie said.

Street-Forrest told the Jamaica Observer that the issue raised by Subratie was the remit of the Regulatory Market Oversight Division.

In reply to the charge of withholding information, the CCC said by way of company spokesperson Sophia Lowe, "At this time, we will be concentrating on what is contained in the press release [re: Tank-Weld disclosure] and we will not be providing any further comment on the agreement. If the situation changes we will be sure to communicate with you on the matter."

The joint CCC, Tank-Weld release said that the companies would be making use of maritime channels for product transport, "in order to enhance efficiencies".

"...Both companies have identified an opportunity to pioneer in domestic maritime transport of a locally manufactured product. Carib Cement will be transported by sea from the CCCL Rockfort Pier to the TW Metals Rio Bueno Port in Trelawny for further distribution to the northern-based construction market using Tank Weld's vast distribution capabilities and strong customer service," it stated.

Tank-Weld's Rio Bueno port, which received its first vessel in August 2008, comprises a 600' long by 50' wide concrete wharf, a 40' draft, a warehouse of over one million square feet equipped with 100 overhead cranes and 30 acres of land adjacent to the port, according to the company's website.

The port facilitates the importation and export of break bulk building materials. The company has the long-term charter of a break bulk vessel, a 5,000-tonne vessel, it was also stated.

The companies said the new agreement will " have social and environmental benefits as the use of maritime freight will see less wear and tear on the roads, less frustration for the travelling public, and less pollution in the air, through the reduction in traversing across the island by road of bulky and heavy cargo".

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