GCC STONE MARKET
Article Date: 01.10.2017
The present GCC Stone Market is worth US$ 5 billion and shall grow at steady pace due to high construction activities. There are about 20,885 active construction projects out of which 50% are in United Arab Emirates (U.A.E). All these projects require stone in large quantity. Events like Dubai Expo 2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and Government project like UAE Vision 2021 will definitely provide phenomenal increase in stone demand. Demand in Saudi Arabia would be for construction of mosques, luxury hotels, universities and museums. Expectation of Brent crude oil price increase, which is near US$ 50 per barrel now, in the future would further boost investment in construction industry which will ultimately result in increase of demand for stone.
GCC accounts for 20% of global stone market which is expected to reach 19.6 billion metric tonnes by 2020. Renaissance City in Abu Dhabi (US$ 30 billion) and the Desert Rose Smart City in Dubai (USD 8.2. billion) are two important examples. Stone use in architecture design is increasing at a very fast pace.
The fast growing GCC market requires an army of skilled workers for construction - electricians, welders, plumbers and fabricators in addition to stone masons, masons for laying and fixing of stones on floors and walls as well as operation of various machines, pneumatic and electrical tools. Safety while working, increased productivity, lower power consumption, reduction in waste as well as utilization of waste are key factors and, therefore, skilled and trained manpower for all the activities is needed.
Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Amer (near Jaipur) in India is proposing a project whereby unskilled labourers, and passed outs from Industrial Training Institutes undergo a short-term training course to make them adaptable in GCC countries - Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. Collaboration with construction companies using stones as well as agencies hiring such skilled workers from India would help in achieving the desired results. This effort of up-skilling the trade shall be beneficial to consultants and contractors in GCC countries.
A blue print for up-skilling the existing work force in respective trades by conducting a three month training course for pass outs from ITIs. in Sikar, Jhunjhunu & Sikandra areas in Rajasthan specially for working on sandstone, marble, kotah stone and slate shall be discussed. This would probably be the first experiment of its kind where such trained manpower shall be available to companies in GCC countries.