Jonas Fack, Bruks Siwertell AB, discusses the influx of orders for cement handling systems, backing-up industry predictions for a substantial rise in global infrastructure demand.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, cement demand is rising, and although this suffered a dip as the world adjusted, the industry is now on track to return to pre-Covid-19 levels. Credit rating agency, ICRA, cites that the global demand for cement will increase by 20% in 2022.
A number of factors are responsible for this. Worldwide, the population is increasing, along with a need for infrastructure growth and modernisation; coastal defence structures are on the agenda for many countries needing to mitigate the risks posed by rising sea levels; and land reclamation and artificial islands are other growing trends in China, the Middle East and parts of Europe, also requiring huge volumes of concrete.
Huge growth on US horizon
Bruks Siwertell’s current orderbook reflects this hike in cement demand. The majority of recent activity for new Siwertell cement ship unloaders has shifted from the Middle East and towards the US. During his election campaign, President Joe Biden pledged to ‘build back better’, and recent reports suggest that there may be as much as US$1 trillion on the table for roads, bridges, rail, and other infrastructure.
This is very encouraging news for the US and for dry bulk handling specialists. However, this demand must be met in a sustainable way, with ship unloading and loading systems that have the capacity to deliver dust-free material handling to protect the environment, combined with offering extremely efficient through-ship capacities.
Although marked for new growth, the US is already one of the world’s largest consumers of cement, with around half of its imports handled by Siwertell ship unloaders. The first screw-type Siwertell ship unloader was supplied to the cement industry in 1975. In 1980, a new highest continuous capacity was set at 800 tph by a Siwertell unloader and today, Siwertell cement unloaders offer continuous rated capacities in excess of 2000 tph.
The state of Texas is the biggest net cement importer in the US and Siwertell ship unloaders have been a prominent feature there for decades. For example, in 2004, Houston Cement Company was beginning to plan a new, larger terminal, as it could sell more cement than it could import. A rail-mounted Siwertell ST 640-D unloader, designed to offer cement unloading rates of up to 1500 tph, was delivered to Houston Cement in 2006. It replaced an existing pneumatic ship unloading system.
Pneumatic unloaders have often been thought of as a good option for cement handling, and it is true that in the right conditions they are capable of high throughput; but, they lack the digging forces necessary to handle materials that have become compacted. They also require significant input from payloaders in the hold. A Siwertell unloader can reach right into the corners of a hold, offering an advantage over pneumatic unloaders and other systems.
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