The steel industry in the Middle East is on a roll, with several major players announcing plans to build new plants and expand production, and this buoyancy is set to reflect in the visitor turnout and sales at the Thermal Industry Middle East (TIME) trade show which got under way at Expo Centre Sharjah on Monday (October 17).
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TIME is the only dedicated show for heavy industry in the Middle East and is considered as a one-stop shop for steel, aluminium, cement, and glass & ceramic technology. It was opened by Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Expo Centre Sharjah, and will run until October 19.
The show features specialist suppliers for each of its sub-sections such as Steel-Tech, Alu-Tech, Cement-Tech and Glass & Ceramic-Tech. Also exhibiting are suppliers and manufacturers of industrial spares, components and consumables which are required for all heavy industry.
For the second edition of the show, steel and cement continue to be key focus areas, mainly due to the relative larger number of plants in the Middle East.A fast-growing market has encouraged major players in the steel sector to announce new projects and expand existing ones. Most of the steel projects are big ticket investments and include Saudi-based Rajhi Steel’s plan to set up a US$ 4 billion heavy steel complex in King Abdullah Economic City, and Oman’s Takamul Investment Company’s new specialty steel products plant at Sohar at a cost of US$ 30 million. The Saudi unit of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, expects to start production in the first half of 2012 at its new US$ 700 million mill at Jubail in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Emirates Steel, after commissioning the second phase of its expansion plan which will take the annual steelmaking capacity of the company to 2.8 million tonnes, has invited companies to bid to work on phase three of its expansion project.
Qatar Steel has signed a contract with Siemens VAI to build a new steel plant to meet growing demand in Qatar and the wider region.
The demand for steel in the GCC still surpasses domestic supply several-fold. Production is 10 million tonnes per year, whereas consumption is around 25 million tonnes, and the regional industry has to rely on imports.
“Regional players are trying to bridge this gap by capacity expansions and new projects, thus opening up new avenues of opportunity for all segments of the steel industry. Steel-Tech at Thermal Industry Middle East (TIME) is a platform for suppliers to the Steel Mills to showcase equipment, technology & services,” said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah.
“TIME is a unique event as it caters to the requirement of all heavy industries like steel, cement, aluminium, glass and ceramic segments,” he said. The buzz in the steel industry is apparent in the turnout of turn-key suppliers of rolling mills like A.R. Engineering, furnace manufacturers like Inductotherm, Wesman and MIT Australia and refractory manufacturers like Cumi and Capital Refractories.
Cement Industry is also a prime focus at TIME 2011 considering that there are more than 50 cement plants in the GCC itself. Although new plants may be slightly postponed, upgrading, maintenance and consumable supply to existing plants provides a significant market for cement plant suppliers.
Saudi Arabia has been in the forefront of cement industry growth due to its buoyant construction and infrastructure sectors, followed by other regional countries. The total sales volume for the nine listed stock of Saudi cement companies increased by 15 per cent year-on-year to 10,757 million tonnes, while for the four private cement companies volumes rose by 5 per cent to 2,802 million tonnes in the second quarter of this year.
However, a decline in oil prices and better demand-supply situation are set to benefit regional cement companies by the third quarter of this year, according to analysts.
Apart from Steel-Tech and Cement-Tech, the other focus areas of the show include Alu-Tech, for the aluminium industry, and Glass & Ceramic-Tech.
Investments to the tune of US$ 40 billion into the Gulf’s aluminium industry have resulted in creating huge requirements for region’s manufactures and suppliers. Alu-Tech will help regional players looking at expanding their scope, facilities and capabilities of operation explore modern and cost-effective plant, machinery, accessories and equipment for aluminium extraction, processing and refining.
Glass and Ceramic-Tech will cater to manufacturers who are on the lookout for high-tech machinery and technology to spruce up their production capacity and improve their products. Wear resistant materials can be sourced from SSAB Hardox, Vautid, Dillinger or Pinar Dokum, Conveyor related from Aumund, SEW drive, Lenze, Rataj and filtration from Testori and Himenviro, among others.
Nearly 100 exhibitors and brands are showcasing exhibits related to steel making, cement manufacturing and other heavy core industry at the show, which is organised by Expo Centre Sharjah with the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
TIME 2011 will be held alongside inaugural edition of Green Middle East, the environmental management and technology exhibition and conference, with sub-sections such as Solid Waste, Waste Water, Air Pollution, Scrap Metal, Alternative Energy and Green Building.