Quality counts – Ohorongo
Ohorongo Cement has over the past twelve months prioritised the establishment of marketing channels not only in Namibia but in neighbouring countries such as Botswana and Angola. This has ensured a regular influx of foreign capital into the country, according Hans-Wilhelm Schütte, managing director of Ohorongo Cement.
The company successfully exported the first bulk cement to the south of Angola earlier last month.
He further pointed out that Ohorongo can now easily access the Angolan market.
Schütte said: “We have signed a few supply agreements to ship cement to Angola and further agreements are in the pipeline. It is however important to note that trade relations with Angola are still tight and that the exchange rate is certainly not beneficial for any business at the moment.”
He said that such efforts were complemented with a strong focus on service.
“Our products are received well as they are of very high quality and are manufactured according to international standards. Ohorongo is very proud of this achievement,” Schütte told the Economist in an electronic interview.
The first bulk cement load was delivered to Santa Clara, Angola on 12 March and the project promises a total tonnage of about 30,000 metric tons to be exported by the end of 2012, which equates to approximately 1000 loads of bulk cement.
According to Carina Sowden, marketing and sales support assistant at Ohorongo, bulk cement was not readily available in the past, but now Ohorongo has made history by making it available.
Meanwhile Schütte said that although the implementation of best available technology in the manufacturing process ensures that operations have a minimal impact on the environment, Ohorongo’s commitment is further reflected by an initiative to replace the usage of coal partly with renewable energy.
He said that renewable energy takes the form of wood chips produced from encroacher bush harvested by its sister company Energy for Future (EFF), from surrounding farmlands.
The bush-to-fuel project holds the distinct additional advantage that farmers can also benefit from debushed pastures. It is their objective that the company runs with 80% renewable and 20% fossil fuels.
Looking back over the past year, Schütte said competition in the local market as well as market access to Angola has posed some challenges.
But the consistently high quality of the Ohorongo cement was critical in establishing Ohorongo in the market and in developing trade links with foreign markets. “Trade with Botswana is picking up, while exports to the DRC are continuing as trade links with this country become increasingly entrenched.” he said