Cement City, the new kid on the block in the brick making sector, has boldly declared that “we want to be the brick of choice for the people of Zimbabwe.’’
The company began trading officially in October 2022 and has already made waves in the industry. To date, Cement City has already garnered approximately 60 percent of the market share. This is mainly due to its pricing model whereby the costs of its products are between 10 to 20 percent cheaper than the rest of the market.
Managing director Ryan Kelly reveals that the company is fully automated with the latest equipment which allows them to manufacture 60 000 bricks per day.
The plant is mechanised meaning that mixing, production and batching are all automated. The only aspect that is labour intensive is the process of stacking. To solve this issue Cement City is seeking to invest in additional machinery.
“We’re a multi-national concrete manufacturer, a household brand at the forefront of every Zimbabwean’s mind for anything to do with construction. We have a special process when manufacturing our bricks to ensure a high quality long lasting yet affordable product,” he says.
Cement City is a one stop shop for a wide range of concrete products. These are common bricks, rectangular and interlocking pavers as well as blocks and copings. Heavy industrial kerbs, lintels and culverts are also some of the precast products made by Cement City. The newest product is the ‘Super 80 mm industrial paver’, whose target market is service stations because of its dark colour which masks oil spills. The Company is also now the sole manufacturer of ‘Stumbel Bloc’ in Zimbabwe after acquiring the unique brick making establishment of the same name.
In terms of material, Cement City procures aggregates from leading suppliers such as Butler Sands and Davies Granite (quarry dust) while cement is sourced from PPC. International Coating Company (ICC) supplies concrete accelerator which allows products to be cured and ready for the market within five to six days.
Going forward, the company intends to mine its own raw materials in a bid to reduce production costs and attain competitive pricing. Once the company begins to source its own aggregates the idea is to set up an onsite batching plant with pre-mix trucks in attendance.
Though still in its infancy, it is expected that Cement City will have five sites across the country producing over 350 million bricks annually. Already, the company has acquired the Atlanta Bricks plant in Kuwadzana as part of the expansion drive. The acquisition consists of the brick moulding machine, three hectares of land and the quarry.
Kelly notes that the company is committed to making quality products. Cement City is working toward certification by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) and International Organisation of Standards (ISO). To this end, Cement City has an onsite laboratory where all products are quality tested to ensure strength and durability.
“We have invested in a lab onsite that does analysis, moisture absorption and curing tests. SAZ requires us to keep a record of all our different productions which we submit to them to see if it meets the standard of SAZ and then they can certify us,” Kelly narrates.
All the raw materials are tested before the production process begins. Whatever mix is made for a particular product, it is made into a cube and placed in a curing bath for between seven to 21 days and throughout, records are kept of the load bearing capacity. Additionally, each product is tested before it leaves the yard.
For the safety and welfare of the staff, the company has both a static and mobile clinic as well as an ambulance on standby. Environmentally conscious, Cement City follows all safety, health and environment protocols.
Cement City has partnered with Outback Logistics for the delivery of raw material to its site as well consigning the finished products to customers. The managing director hints that in the near future they expect to take delivery of 3 grabber trucks to complement the fleet.
The product range is also set to widen with the manufacture of precast products that are required by engineers for bridges, dams and all manner of mega- structures such as shelvets, culverts and sewer pipes. There is genuine capability to take the precast industry to another level, reducing the amount of imports of similar precast products from South Africa. This will also give the company and the nation the capacity to export into the region.
Power outages are not a major obstacle as Cement City has two back-up generators with a combined output of 1000 KVA.
Cement City is located 12 kilometres from the central business district in the Koala Park premises along Seke Road between Harare and Chitungwiza. The business occupies 20 hectares of the 82 hectares of the Koala Park farm.
Opening Hours: Monday- Friday 0730- 1630
Saturday 0800- 1230
Contact Phones: 0777 176 506, 08677 009 818
Text by Perry Kaande
Photos by Fotohaus