As of January of 2015, Iran has been taking control over cement exportation in the Middle East and the broader continental market in Asia. With a production capacity of up to 70 million tons of cement annually, Iran is the largest cement manufacturer in the Middle East and the fourth largest in the world. The country also has the fastest cement industry growth rate across the globe and is projected to surpass the United States as the world's third largest cement producer anytime soon.
While Iran's dominance in the cement industry cannot be fully explained by the economic forces of classic supply and demand, one can begin to understand the phenomenon by looking at its relationship with Iraq, which is currently the top cement importer in the world. With Iran funding an insurgency in Iraq (Qud's Forces from Iran have been training and equipping Iraqi-Shia militias for over a decade now), the country is simultaneously contributing to the other's destruction as well as its re-construction. According to one official at the Joint Chamber between Iran-Iraq, Iran currently supplies nearly half of Iraq's total cement consumption, somehow sending the world a subliminal message that "what war destroys, Iran rebuilds," through the country's cement industry.
Iran has long used cement as a lucrative economic and political vehicle as portions of its cement industry are also possibly government fronts that are masquerading to be private companies. In fact the Social Security Fund, which is an Iranian government institution, also serves as a major shareholder in the largest cement producer in the country, which is Fars and Khuzestan Cement Company or FKCC.
The country exports cement to an excess of 24 different countries across the globe. The main importers of Iranian cement include Iraq, which accounts for 63 percent of its cement export; Turkmenistan, 7 percent; and Azerbaijan, 4 percent. Afghanistan is also fast becoming a large purchaser, which deeply worries Pakistani manufacturers. With Iranian cement exporters and manufacturers fast dominating the market and putting many foreign exporters out of business, the country's cement industry is definitely an attractive sector to explore, investment-wise. Even Western sanctions cannot stop Iran from cementing its position in the economic as well as the political landscape and their cement industry is one of the strongest examples of their intelligent strategy in dealing with global markets not only on the economic front, but also in politically motivated ends and objectives.
About the author:
Javaneh Motaghi is the E-commerce representative at White Rose Group established in 1992 to offer businesses and organizations, whether SME or large corporate enterprise, a unique cost-effective Import and Export solution covering the width and breadth of Iran, through having branches in four different locations of Iran; Tehran, Chabahar, Bandar Abbas and Sari."