Industry head honchos and cement sector veterans and policymakers graced the 9th edition of the ICR International Exhibition, Conference & Awards held on 8-9, December 2016, at Mumbai.
The best and the brightest from the cement industry were present at the 9th edition of the International Exhibition, Conference & Awards organised by INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW, the first and only magazine exclusively devoted to the sector. This year, the theme of the meet was ´Infrastructure to drive cement demand.´
The event was held against the backdrop of the challenge being faced by the cement industry today due to overcapacity, and demand not really picking up for the last two years, even though some policy decisions have been taken, that will eventually help the sector. Incidentally, despite the critical contribution that cement makes to the development of infrastructure, there have been very few similar events organized in the past. The successful 9th edition of the meet was hence very well received by India Inc.
A wonderful start
The conference & Expo 2016 received an overwhelming response. It was inaugurated on 8th December 2016 by renowned architect Hafeez Contractor, the man credited with changing Mumbai´s skyline. The inauguration of the conference was done in a traditional way by lighting a lamp. Those who were present on the occasion were Hafeez Contractor as Chief Guest, along with dignitaries who included Pratap Padode, Managing Director, ASAPP Info Global Services Pvt Ltd; Sumit Banerjee; Chairman, Editorial Advisory Board - ASAPP Info Global Services; Roshan Wadhera, the founder of INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW and Falguni Padode, Group Managing Director, ASAPP Info Global Services.
While welcoming the guests, Padode briefed the audience about the initiatives taken by ASAPP Info Global Group and the digital initiatives that the magazine planned to take. Padode then went on to explore the theme of the conference. He referred to planned road development activity that will take place in the United States. Despite having world-class road infrastructure, the US is thinking seriously about redeveloping its network. He said, ´Over a period of time, you will experience bottlenecks in well-developed infrastructure, and then you will have to work on those bottlenecks.´Padode added that it was estimated five years ago that India needs around 1$ trillion for developing its infrastructure. Then he referred to the various Metro rail projects being undertaken in various cities. Padode said these initiatives will have a propelling effect on the cement industry. On Smart Cities, he said these urban centres will bring down the crime rate and will improve the mobility of urban transportation.
Later on, Padode touched upon the recent disruption the economy has faced due to the demonetisation decision taken by the government. He said, ´It is certainly a pain for all of us. The short term needs will get affected, but the long term demand will not. The success lies in how quickly the currency gets replaced.´
In his inaugural speech, Contractor mentioned about the projects which are being built under Public-Private Partnership (PPP). He pointed out that the project cost is extremely important. Contractor added that India has to build one Chicago every year for the next 25 years, but our people do not have the money. He suggested the use of precast technology for housing, and urged cement companies to bring down the cost of cement.
Founder of INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW, patriarch Roshan Wadhera, acknowledged the efforts taken by Pratap Padode and his team in organising the event. He made a special mention of Umesh Shrivastava of Holtec, who has been very supportive of the magazine since its inception.
Sumit Banerjee, Chairman, Editorial Advisory Board, ASAPP Info Global, drew the attention of the audience to the scenario before 8th November for the cement industry, and spoke on how the post-denomination days will roll out. He hoped that the industry will be back on track soon, and the year 2017 should turn out to be a booster year. After the formal inauguration of the conference, the scheduled sessions of discussions started.
Session 1: ´Infrastructural Revival: An Engine for Cement Consumption´ The panel discussion on infrastructure was started by Vineet Bhatnagar, MD and CEO of PhillipCapital. The other panel members were Sumit Banerjee; Guy Perry, President-Cities and Strategy, Essel Infraprojects Ltd.; KV Praveen, Vice-President, L&T and Dr Chetan Hazaree, Dy Gen. Manager (R&D), Hindustan Construction Company. The panel was unanimous that the present share of consumption of 13 per cent of cement in infra projects is likely to double in the coming years. Development of roads, Metros and airports were expected to be the key drivers. Smart Cities and irrigation were slow movers, but were nevertheless important cement consumption avenues. The panel also agreed that project execution is still challenging.
Session 2: ´Composite Cement´
The post-lunch session was on ´Composite Cement´, that has been the recent addition to the family of blended cements. Though the specification for composite cement, a mix of fly ash and slag, was introduced by the end of 2015, no manufacturer has so far started producing it. The group discussion focussed on the opportunities and challenges for the users and manufacturers of composite cement. Dr HM Raje, Director, Raje Consultants was the moderator for the discussion. The other members were Dr VV Nori, Chairman, Shirish Patel Associates; PV Indrasena Rao, Head, Bureau of Indian Standards; Jitendra Kumar, Head - Operations JK Cement, and Dr SK Breja, Jt Director and Head, NCCBM. The panel said that there have been many developments on materials used in construction. Use of mineral admixtures has been quite common. The consultants and contractors were open to use materials that would produce durable structures, and composite cement is one more step in that direction.
Session 3: ´Latest offerings in cement manufacturing tech to lower carbon footprint´ The third session was extremely important against the backdrop of implementation of continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMs) and the recently held COP21 summit at Paris. Manufacturers and solution providers spoke on the products designed with a view to lower the carbon footprint. Pankaj Singh, Chemtrols Industries, spoke on the CEMs for kiln stacks. He also spoke on the challenges and the solutions. VK Batra, Dy Managing Director, Holtec, covered topics related to energy requirements, and ways & means to reduce energy consumption. Dr B Mishra, Head R&D, Dalmia Refractories, talked about magnesia-based bricks for cement kilns and their superiority over conventional ones. Dietmar Bruckhoff, Business Director, Claudious Peters, covered the topic on coolers, whereas Sanghmitra Lodh of UFLEX Ltd spoke on the latest packing materials being used for cement.
Session 4: ´Lowering carbon footprint: Users´ perspective´ Varun Boralkar, National Head-MSW & I/C Strategy & Policy Advocacy, Geocycle India, spoke at length on making use of waste material as fuel. Geocycle India is a combined entity of ACC and Ambuja, which studies waste management. Boralkar said that MSW or Municipal Solid Waste is becoming s source of fuel for cement kilns. Same is the story with industrial wastes. However, while highlighting the potential of these waste materials, he also addressed the bottlenecks while using them. He said that it makes sense to look at these wastes ´in a different perspective´when we start creating Smart Cities.
The CEMENT EXPO 2016: Another roaring success!
Along with the conference, INDIAN CEMENT REVIEW also hosted an exhibition ´CEMENT EXPO 2016´ where 62 corporates and institutions participated and displayed various products and services. The focus of the exhibition was on new developments of various products & services that lower carbon dioxide emission. The footfall for the exhibition was very good. The chief guest and some cement industry top executives had one-to-one interactions on the new products.
In all, the expo generated good business opportunity for the exhibitors. A video coverage of every exhibitor (along with his products, services and e-brochures) has been uploaded on the ICR website so that visitors who could not make it to the expo, along with interested global industry watchers, can still get the best of the exhibition.