Tie-up to plug labour shortage

Labour shortages have prompted a recent tie-up between Dubai's Al Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading and Hong Kong-based Hip Hing Overseas.

NEWS, Projects

Labour shortages have prompted a recent tie-up between Dubai's Al Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading and Hong Kong-based Hip Hing Overseas.

Construction on the team's first project - the 70-storey HHHR Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road - is underway. The deal is worth US $191 million (AED700 million).

The joint venture is also bidding for 'three major projects', including Nakheel's Dubai Waterfront development and others in Abu Dhabi.

"With our own resources we will not achieve what we want to achieve. We needed a strategic partner to come on board," said SK Joshi, CEO, Al Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading.

"We have a number of other projects under negotiation. We have been invited to show tenders for Nakheel's Dubai Waterfront project as well as several projects in Abu Dhabi."

The partnership's workforce will be increased from 8,000 to around 12,000, a large proportion of which will be sourced from China.

"The reason we went into joint venture is because it's becoming very difficult to bring labour from India," said Saeed Massoudi, managing director, Al Ahmadiah Contracting & Trading.

"The economy of India itself is booming and not many people are willing to come and work under these difficult conditions, so we have to look for other sources. This is our second experience in a joint venture with a Chinese company and we have been relatively pleased with the productivity and discipline of the Chinese workers. If successful, we will continue this trend to take major projects in Abu Dhabi and other emirates."

Massoudi added that Al Ahmadiah is also looking for ways to combat the challenge of material shortages, which could mean a move into the precast sector.

"We need to become more self sufficient and secure resources," he said.

"We are considering going into precast. Concrete has become a major issue for all contractors, so if you have your own batching plant and concrete mixing it will help avoid delays in supply. We should be bringing our materials in-house as much as possible," he added.

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