Import regs changed to address cement shortage

| 21/07/2021 | 57 Comments
Cayman News Service
Deputy Premier Chris Saunders

(CNS): Government has amended the regulations surrounding the limits on cement importation to address an acute shortage, which is fuelled by the continued commercial construction in Cayman as well as global supply chain problems. Colombia, Cuba and Panama have now been cleared as authorised countries where the cement can be sourced. Customs and Border Control confirmed to CNS that several years ago the Cayman Islands introduced a ban on imports for certain countries “based on risk assessments relating to smuggling”. But with the amendments passed by the new government, customs officials said that they, in conjunction with other local enforcement agencies, will ensure that robust inspection and monitoring mechanisms are established to check cement importation from new markets.

The Customs and Border Control (Prohibited Goods) (Amendment) Order, 2021 came into effect on 14 July, adding the three new markets. Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Chris Saunders said this should help meet the local demand, which has impacted the building of affordable homes for Caymanians, work and repairs on existing homes, as well as the commercial sector.

“Adding to the list of countries approved for cement importation will provide much-needed cement supplies to the local construction industry and help prevent building delays,” Saunders said in a release. “The shortage of cement has hit hard across the board, with cement regularly selling out before ships carrying new supplies arrive in port.

“It is imperative for the government to take swift decisions and timely action to mitigate against construction supply shortages that could negatively impact Cayman’s economic growth and infrastructure development. We have seen other countries across the region affected, and acted to curtail and limit the local impact,” he added.

But the global demand for cement is expected to continue rising over the next two to three years due to increased construction activity in developing countries around the world, which will continue to present issues for the sector.

A spokesperson for National Concrete, Cayman’s main buyer of cement, said that they were pleased with this new government’s action on this issue, as the situation has been difficult for some time, and construction is a significant part of the economy right now. The company said it welcomed the return of the regional source markets to the list of approved countries as they believe the importers will need to be looking further afield to get the quality product that they need to meet the demand.

“Two of the countries listed had been used for many years as sources up until three or four years ago,” the spokesperson said. “Due to shortages from the local supplier we will need to begin sourcing cement from alternate suppliers. The regional and global supply chain issues will require all available sources to ensure we can meet the current and forecast demand of concrete.”

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Category: Business, Construction

Comments (57)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A certain cement company that has cornered the market to prevent other companies from getting supplies for cement is a big problem. Stop the monopolies!

    • Anonymous says:

      They learnt from CUC

    • Anonymous says:

      Proble is most cocaine on island actually arrives by cement and other fancy building materials NOT much come on boats from Jamaica as it is too high price a commodity in the Caribbean! Only thing is that Panama, Cuba, etc have guns too but only send ammo out of country all the guns come here through Jamaica.

  2. Thomas Jackson Jr says:

    Understand fully opening up sources for purchase of cement.

    BUT with all going on in Cuba, the government in-prisoning and killing peaceful protesters. I cannot believe especially after Caymanian Cubans having protest locally, meeting at the speakers house re: situation in Cuba. That any government of our islands would do anything to put more money in the hands of the communist regime of Cuba. 100% of all foreign trade in and out of Cuba is done by companies owned by Cuban government.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you they care about any humanitarian issues surrounding the Cuban people in Cuba or any Caymanian? As long as the dollars are flowing and they keep destroying the environment, they are content until the rooster sings home.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian whether you like it or not

  4. Anonymous says:

    PACT priorities –

    Pay ourselves more – check

    Increase supply of white powdered material from S. America – check

    Help the people of Cayman – no time for that

    Publish Code of Conduct that might limit conflicts of interest and corruption – HELL NO

  5. Anonymous says:

    But no code of conduct?

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    ‘Quick, get the cement in, there’s still more of that green shit and coastline to be wrecked’ Concrete Cayman.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is National Concrete the only importer of bulk cement into Cayman?

  9. SSM345 says:

    Maybe remove the “concessions” and see what happens with these developers purchasing power…..

    Just a thought.

    The entire world has been locked down and brought back to Earth but for Caymans Developers; who are developing for who exactly since no one can reach?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Maybe build less? Just an idea

  11. Anonymous says:

    So this should now technically open the door to importation of real organically produced vegetables & fruit from Cuba. And I’m sure they need the revenue and we definitely need produce that tastes, looks and provides optimal nutrition compared to the GMO garbage we’re getting from the USA.

    • Anonymous says:

      .. and the motherland is just going to let us trade. Despite the embargoes…

      Never going to happen

    • Anonymous says:

      So very true! Amen!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, two faced politics should have no say when it comes to our food security. But bringing in produce from Cuba is probably not an option since big grocery stores here are affiliated with big USA suppliers. The big USA suppliers will most likely cry fowl and terminate their contracts with Fosters and the like for purchasing from Cuba. Sadly we might be between a rock and hard place.

  12. Anonymous says:

    just keep adding more and more weight to this little island until it breaks off and sink

  13. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know the policy behind having a list of countries from which one can import cement? Why not allow imports from any country not bound by UN sanctions or UK sanctions?

    • Anonymous says:

      It goes back to a politically connected cement importer with exclusive rights from Mexico.
      The blocked countries wouldn’t give them exclusivity so they blocked them politically using drugs as the excuse.
      Like drugs don’t flow through Mexico.

    • Don't Smile Too Much! says:

      Since Cuba remains under the provisions of US ‘Trading with the Enemy’ laws (enacted by Kennedy after Bay of Pigs and never repealed), US interests in any country doing business with Cuba may be liable to sanctions, and that includes the Cayman Islands. US investors in Caymanian property developments built using concrete made from Cuban cement, beware!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ah yes, true all important “cement“ shortage.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Drugs and guns importation will increase now

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yeah.. to help Caymanians build houses my arse… This is to keep the developers happy. I highly doubt this will help the little man.

    • Anonymous says:

      So this comment either assumes that:

      – Caymanians don’t build homes or offices, or
      – increasing supply will have no impact on pricing

      Or both.

      Both seem wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanians can’t afford to build homes or offices. PACT is intent on ensuring it remains that way.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I heard loud mouth Mario Rankine recently ranting about this cement issue and making all sorts of accusations on his show. Is he the new spokesman or minister of propaganda for the pact government?

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody listens to that guy nor should they. He is a walking time bomb desperate for attention. Reminds me of a Caymanian Rush Lindbaugh

      • Anonymous says:

        Now you’re insulting Rush Limbaugh.
        Rush had education and could speak without the constant use of four letter words.

    • Anonymous says:

      He’s the same genius who broadcast a foul mouthed rant against the governor and his wife..?
      Lawd help Cayman if this is the kind of person representing PACT.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am all for freedom of speech and expression, but people like Mario should not be provided a platform as a guest on taxpayer funded public radio to defame people and push his special interest agenda. I know poor Sterling Dwayne is struggling to keep the program interesting but bringing the likes of Mario Rankin on is not the answer.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Good Job Chris.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the next phase of enabled construction fraud, where deficient grade concrete is opaquely swapped for expedience and profit. Who will ever know? Why would our construction industry pay more for high strength slab and columns when millions can be shaved by pouring lean or ordinary grades in buildings they will never occupy? Coming soon to an earthquake/hurricane near you.

    • Anonymous says:

      FYI to government leaders – the constant construction and road creation is making Cayman hotter every year. Endeavor to make way for more vegetation throughout developed areas and conserve wildlife areas – that way we help the environment and make living here nicer, and not just for expats to get tans at the beach.

    • Anonymous says:

      The architect knows, or should know, since he/she will forever be responsible for the integrity of the building, and if he/she should die their estate can still be sued for claims after their death. That’s why the architect is onsite during the construction and takes samples of the concrete to be independently tested. That’s one of the many reasons for their high fees.

      PS. I’m not an architect but I worked in construction and built my own house.

    • Anonymous says:

      ok dumbass. For starters it’s not concrete that’s coming in, it’s the cement which is a component of concrete which is manufactured here locally. When they use it, they have to test samples of the finished product at multiple intervals to assure it is of appropriate strength and quality.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Back to the 1980’s – Uncontrolled development, concrete castles everywhere and bags of Peruvian flake coming in from Colombia!

  21. Bad to worse says:

    So now we’re allowing imports from dubious sources expect more guns and drugs with the cement. Do we have a gun and drugs shortage on island or just cement. Seems our CBC can hardly stop imports of contraband from the jurisdictions we regularly deal with, let’s see how they handle this now going forward.

  22. Anonymous says:

    We been getting the powdered stuff from Colombia long time bobo.

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