SEEING a strong demand for construction materials on the back of the government’s massive infrastructure projects, Holcim Philippines Inc. is urging the shift of local contractors to blended cement to build roads mainly because of its lesser impact on the environment and better performance.
As part of President Duterte’s P8-trillion “Build, Build, Build” program to upgrade key infrastructures in the country, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that 3,945 kilometers of roads have been built by the current administration as of July this year, with more projects under way until 2022.
According to Holcim Philippines Senior Vice President (SVP) for Sales William Sumalinog, the majority of national roads are still built using Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC), which has a higher clinker component than blended ones.
Clinker is an intermediate product and causes a significant release of carbon dioxide during cement production.
Holcim has been maximizing its production process to mitigate emissions from clinker making with the use of blended cements as one major lever.
The top executive said that the DPWH has allowed the utilization of blended cement for road constructions since June 2016 via Department Order (DO) 133. This directive amends building standards for concrete pavements that previously specified OPC.
The DO 133 is aimed at helping the government’s intention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The order is aligned with Holcim Philippines’s efforts to lower emissions from cement production as part of our overall sustainability commitment. Aside from pushing efficiency initiatives, getting our partners to shift to blended cement products is key to meeting our environmental targets,” Sumalinog said.
He also pointed out that the DPWH order, likewise, acknowledges that blended cement meets the quality standards for strength and durability for roads. The SVP for sales of Holcim Philippines noted that it may even perform better in some cases as it can be customized to address the specific durability challenges present in sites where structures will be built.
Sumalinog shared that since the issuance of the directive, the cement manufacturer has been working with its business partners and regional DPWH offices to highlight the benefits of blended cement over OPC through its engagement programs such as Holcim Building Bridges.
The building solution firm offers products ranging from structuring to finishing applications for infrastructure projects and even simple home repairs.
It has cement manufacturing facilities in La Union, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental and Davao, as well as aggregates and dry mix business and technical support facilities for building solutions.
Holcim Philippines is a member of the LafargeHolcim Group present in 80 countries with over 80,000 employees.
To further support the nation’s strong economic development and robust construction activity, it plans to invest nearly $300 million to increase its cement production capacity by 30 percent to 13 million metric tons by 2020.
Set to be upgraded are its facilities in Bulacan and Misamis Oriental with the installation of new and efficient kilns and mills and waste heat recovery systems as part of its cost focus.
“Our company believes in the sustained development of the Philippines. This investment is proof of our confidence in the country and our commitment to be a strong partner for progress,” said Tomas Alcantara, chairman of Holcim Philippines.
“With this, Holcim Philippines will continue being a reliable partner in building a better future for the country,” he added.
For Holcim Philippines President and CEO John Stull, these initiatives enable their company to keep on playing a pivotal role in the country’s growth.
“Our capacity expansion ensures that we can provide a steady supply of quality building materials to support the government’s infrastructure program and the resulting construction activity from the economy’s sustained rise,” he said.
With interest expenses from short-term loans related to capital expenditures to raise production capacity, the publicly listed company reported that its net income for the third quarter of 2018 reached P176.9 million compared with P337.4 million recorded during the same period last year.