LCC Announces imminent re-start of Benghazi Operations
Mr Bob Solomon, Chairman and CEO of the Libyan Cement Company, announced that its Benghazi Factory will re-open for sales and dispatches before the end of February 2019.
At this stage limited quantities are available. Grinding of cement into storage silos has already commenced and product testing is ongoing. Interested parties are encouraged to be in contact with the LCC sales department for the reservation and delivery of orders. It will be available in both bulk quantities and 50 kg bags.
Mr Solomon indicated that the Company has been working hard over the past 12 months to rectify the extensive damages suffered during the civil unrest in the past years. There have been multiple obstacles to overcome.
The first hurdle was to clear the site of unexploded ordinance and booby traps that remained after the General Hafter’s LNA successfully liberated the site from opposing forces. A specialist international team was contracted to come in and do this work. It took a lot of organising to get the support and approvals of interested parties, and the Company owes a debt of gratitude to elements of the local Police and Army Mine clearance teams who ably assisted in this work.
Unfortunately, it is a dangerous activity and 2 persons lost their lives in explosions while repairing the Company’s boundary walls. They had wandered out of the secured and safe zones established by the Mine Clearing teams and paid a high price for their mistake.
Once the site was officially announced to be safe from bombs at the end of 2017, the Company immediately proceeded with clearing the debris and damaged machinery and equipment. The next hurdle faced was the shortage of supplies and materials for repair works. The majority needed to be imported and the only mechanism for paying for the goods was via Letters of Credit (LC’s). The financial infrastructure had also suffered significantly from the fighting and it was very difficult to get approval to open these LC’s. In fact it took until the 2nd half of 2018 for this process to free up. Typically it takes 3-6 months from placing an order for materials and parts to receiving them in the factory. Then they have to been installed and commissioned.
Thankfully we are now ready for a partial re-start, but there are still many deliveries not yet received. As they arrive we will progressively re-commission more elements of the plant.