In the span of just four decades, the Yanbu Cement Company has established itself among the Top 100 industries in Saudi Arabia. Based in Jeddah, Yanbu was created in 1977, though it would take two more years before it officially began daily operations. The western regions of Saudi Arabia, specifically Madina and Mekka are areas where Yanbu’s presence is most evident.
Daily production of close to four million tons clinker each year is a far cry from its earliest days. Beginning with two kilns, the company added a third in 1982 before waiting another 15 years to add another one. This kiln was the largest in the Middle East at the time and helped add a whopping 2.1 million tons clinker to the yearly output.
While another kiln that was added in 2005 only contributed 500,000 tons to the production per annum, it gave Yanbu a state-of-the-art kiln that uses current technology in the short dry process. By 2012, the last expansion allowed daily production to reach 22,500 tons clinker per day.
In order to provide jobs to Saudis and build up a pipeline of qualified workers, Yanbu began a training center in 1998. While the main focus is to train engineers and technicians to work for the company, a unique compact with the Arab Cement Union was also crafted. This helps create employees for competing cement firms, with the union providing those engineers and trainers to teach those seeking work while also approving certificates issued after successful completion of courses.
Yanbu is not immune to the continuing drop in oil prices, which is why in April 2016; the Saudi government lifted its 2008 ban on the exporting of cement. That original decision was made in order to jump-start infrastructure projects in the Kingdom, which was experiencing heavy demand.