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The paving stone market in Russia: a perfect storm?


There could be a perfect storm – the good kind – for import growth in the Russian paving stone market, an industry conference predicts. Domestic production slowing down, demand going up, and local buyers fed up with poor-quality local products.
The ‘Paving Stone Market of Russia’ conference that took place in Moscow this June was mainly of interest to local buyers, but some useful information for exporters to Russia also came to light. Here are three factors that could excite those looking for a new market:
1. Russia needs more paving slabs
Firstly, there is healthy demand for paving stones. Russia’s pavement levels are in a poor state – there is only 0.27 square metres of paved walkways per Russian, compared to around 2 sqm in the rest of Europe and 3 sqm in the Netherlands. The Russian government wants to change this, and has launched several programmes to lay more paving stones around the country. 
The most recent was launched in 2011 and restarted in 2013. It involved increasing the use of paving slabs in the centre of Moscow and St. Petersburg – not just laying new paths, but replacing existing, poor-quality asphalt walkways with more attractive and eco-friendly natural stone. 
2. Russia needs better paving slabs
The paving stone demand in Russia is for quality as well as quantity. Lev Antonov, the man at the top of Russian supplier Kamenniy Vek, gave a scathing assessment of some of the stones used in Russia. “Unfortunately, around 50% of products on the market are poor quality,” he told the conference  audience. “In one city in central Russia, some local slabs that were laid in September were completely worn out by March. Unscrupulous manufacturers are giving paving slabs a bad name.” Russia’s climate can go from one extreme to the other, so good quality materials are essential if local authorities do not want to be replacing their slabs every year. 
European and international building products enjoy an unrivalled reputation for quality in Russia – exporters can take advantage of this and trade on the reliability of their products.
3. Russia needs imported paving materials
So where are the opportunities for exporters? While imports of finished paving slabs themselves are not that large, the local market is dependent on imported pigments, chemicals and cements to produce slabs in Russia. This has not changed, even with the value of the rouble, Russia’s national currency, taking a hit, and finding the best international materials is an integral part of business for local makers. “According to our estimates, around 90% of colourants used in Russian paving production are imported,” said Dmitry Grigoriev, commercial director of Russian maker Velkoms. “I don’t think this situation is likely to change in the near future. Pigment production is expensive and dirty, so it would be premature to say that this kind of production will appear in Russia.”
For any company in the paving and natural stone market, all the elements for growth are there – demand is rising, local supply isn’t keeping pace, and imported products have a firm position in the supply chain. Want to know more about the market and whether your products could be in demand there? Talk to us today.


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Tanya Aleksankina

International Sales Manager - Interiors sectors


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