Ready-mix companies in the UAE have cut production by up to 50 per cent and fear the situation could get worse in two months.
The companies yesterday told Emirates Business that many of them, which used to run 24-hour shifts, have reduced their timings by almost six hours and are losing around 25 per cent of revenue.
Ready-mix is the term for concrete that is pre-mixed and delivered to the construction site in special vehicles. Construction across the country has significantly slowed down with many new projects on hold and several ongoing ones delayed by more than a year.
Unibeton Readymix said it had cut production almost by half due to falling demand.
Charanjeet Singh, Assistant General Manager, said his company cut output by almost 45 per cent compared to 2008.
"Every day we get to hear about more projects being cancelled or put on hold. Naturally the demand for readymix has fallen. However, we continue to work for 24 hours as many of our present projects continue to progress, although at a much slower pace," said Singh.
The ready-mix company used to have a monthly production of around 400,000 cubic metres of ready-to-use concrete until last year.
An executive from Al Azzani Ready Mix said his company had reduced production by 25 to 30 per cent. "This, despite us catering to some of the government projects that have not been affected. Thousands of workers are being sent home from construction companies. Three of the companies where we used to supply ready-mix have slashed their workforce by around 10,000. Many of them are given a month's salary and ticket and asked to return after six months – provided the situation improves," said the official.
Daily production at Arabian Mix has fallen from 5,500 cubic metres to 3,200 cubic metres.
"The business is bad as work on many sites has stopped. We have already reached the middle of the month when we used to cross 77,000 cubic metres. But this month I have so far only managed to supply 52,000 cubic metres," said an executive.
Firms fear the situation might worsen in the coming months. "February will be even worse. We are expecting work on more projects to be stalled," said Singh.