The local cement company Rock Hard has shattered the virtual wall that had been barring it from entering the regional market.
Having complained eight months ago it was experiencing a hard time selling outside of Barbados, the company is now about to enter several territories.
Executive Chairman Mark Maloney said a ship offloaded cement here yesterday and would proceed to St Lucia tomorrow before heading to St Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana.
In addition, Maloney said, Rock Hard cement could soon be available in another three countries.
“Rock Hard Cement is also looking to work with distributors in Grenada, Dominica and Antigua as well as in markets further north in the coming months,” the businessman said.
Maloney had told Barbados TODAY in April last year the company was setting up a facility in Trinidad and Tobago, with plans to distribute the product to other territories including Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Suriname, the Eastern Caribbean, the French-speaking nations and South America.
A month later Maloney, whose company has taken credit for reduced cement prices here, accused its competitor TCL Group of employing unfair tactics to stop Rock Hard from competing in other Caribbean markets.
At the time Maloney had said TCL had attempted to register the Rock Hard name in overseas markets in an attempt to prevent the Barbadian company from entering those markets.
The battle for control of the cement market here intensified last August with Rock Hard firmly defending the quality of its product in the face of allegations that it was misleading consumers.
In a statement yesterday announcing Rock Hard’s expansion into new markets, Maloney said the company continued to see “a good response” for its product, pointing out that since its entrance here in November 2015, the product has been “well received” and was “also doing well” in Trinidad and Tobago.
In addition to new markets, Maloney announced improvements to the packaging of the product, pointing to a change from polypropylene cement bags to Kraft 3ply cement bags and plastic later bags, “to ensure that the product is delivered to the customers with the best packaging”.
The Rock Hard Cement company is embroiled in a court battle with Town & Country Planning over its facility close to the Flour Mill just off Spring Garden Highway.
The state agency responsible for monitoring physical development plans had issued an enforcement notice against the company, which Rock Hard challenged.