The Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) is pushing for rubberised roads in order to stabilise rubber price

October 2, 2017

rubberised-roadThe Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) is pushing for rubber bitumen to be used in new road construction through a policy starting the middle of next year, its Research and Innovation Deputy Director-General Dr Zairossani Mohd Nor said.

He said if rubberised roads were to be implemented on a large scale, it would definitely help stabilise rubber prices that had fallen over the years.

“If our roads are rubberised, the demand for rubber will increase drastically as for every kilometre (km), four tonnes of cuplump is used,” he said in an interview with Bernama.

Currently, the pilot project for rubberised roads has been conducted in five states, namely Kelantan, Pahang, Selangor, Kedah, and Negeri Sembilan.

Teluk Intan, Perak will be added into the list this month where a three-km rubberised road will be built and followed by a 20-km stretch in Segamat, Johor which is expected to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“In Malaysia, we have more than 200,000 km of roads with 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the roads are re-tarred every year. The life span of normal tarred roads is shorter than that of rubberised roads.

“Rubberised road is formulated using cuplump, which is a freshly coagulated rubber, where the coagulation process takes place in the cup at the (rubber) trees with no manufacturing process being involved; and Cuplump Modified Asphalt (CMA) for road construction or resurfacing works.

CMA is a mixture of bituminous cuplump and asphalt, which is a composite material that is mainly used for the paving of road surfaces.

The rubberised road could last for eight years before the need to redo it arises, compared with normal tar that requires to be re-tarred three to four years once.

Besides that, MRB also conducts vertical integration where small-time rubber entrepreneurs can process their own rubber to be sold at a higher price.

Plans are also afoot to encourage more youths to be part of the rubber industry as the government is planning to increase the rubber plantation hectarage nationwide to 1.2 million by 2020.

“Our main challenge is that we have aging smallholders. The youngsters are not interested as they see the income is not lucrative and has the notion that the rubber industry will soon die due to technology advancement.

“It is a wrong impression to think that rubber is a sunset industry. This is because, natural rubber is a commodity that could not be replaced by anything despite the evolution of synthetic rubber,” he said.

Citing that nothing could substitute the quality and advantages of natural rubber, especially in the tyre and medical glove industries, Zairossani said that as long as the population keeps growing, natural rubber would be a main commodity.

Currently, the natural price of natural rubber (SMR 20) is in the range of RM5.90 to RM6.40 per kilogramme (kg) which is considered mediocre.

“The comfortable price will be RM7.00 to RM 8.00 per kg for SMR 20 as rubber smallholders will be able to obtain more than RM1,000 per hectare. At the current rate, they will have to toil harder and tap about 1.2 hectares to get RM1,000,” he said.

However, the government has put a safety net by allocating aid to rubber smallholders should the benchmark of SMR 20 decreases below the benchmark of RM5.50 as the price for unprocessed rubber will drop to only RM2.20 per kg.

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International Rubber Prices
(as of 16, October 2017)

Monthly The prices shown above do not include VAT @4% on purchase and expenses towards packing, transportation, warehousing  and other incidentals


Source: India Rubber Board

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