Hardware stores complain about cement shortageWednesday, August 04, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Cement retailers in three south-central parishes say they are struggling to meet cement demands because of what they say is a shortage of the supply from Caribbean Cement Company.
Checks made by the Jamaica Observer yesterday with hardware stores in Mandeville and Christiana in Manchester; May Pen in Clarendon; and Santa Cruz in St Elizabeth had the same complaints of limited or no cement available.
“Mi cyaa get none. The likkle mi get last week come in like a hot bread, so right now mi a wait fi see when dem a guh send the cement. We need cement. If no cement, is like no work for us,” said a Mandeville hardware owner who asked not to be named.
Reports of a cement shortage are not new as over the years cement retailers have complained of the long-standing problem which they say impacts sales due to cement being a key product in construction and hardware supply.
But Carib Cement has argued that there is no shortage of the highly demanded product.
Chad Bryan, communication and social impact coordinator at Carib Cement, told the Observer that logistic issues were to blame for the delay in cement being delivered.
“The cement is on its way. It's not that there is a shortage or anything. It is just the age-old problem of it not getting out on time. We have the product, it's on its way... The logistic issues should be resolved momentarily. In another day or so it should be rectified,” said Bryan.
Meanwhile, the operator of a hardware store in Santa Cruz, who asked not to be named, said he has been receiving less than half of his weekly order of cement.
“From about Friday I power-washed the cement storeroom and I used it to play football. I have no cement. I used to get like 5,000 bags of cement per week, last week I only got 2,000. There is no cement in Santa Cruz,” he said.
The hardware operator believes that the Government may be forced to issue import licences for people to import cement if there continues to be a shortage of the product.
Hardware operators in recent months have also faced sharp increases in the prices of lumber and steel.