End of the road? Not likely

In a recent interview with PMV a manager of Chinese construction machinery manufacturer described the regional road building market as ‘mature'.


In a recent interview with PMV a manager of Chinese construction machinery manufacturer described the regional road building market as 'mature'. What he meant was he didn't see much opportunity to sell road-building machinery in a region where black tarmac already criss-crosses the desert.

While there may already be plenty of roads and an ample supply of the machines needed to build them, it doesn't look like a sector that's all finished working. Dubai's infamous traffic is the biggest advert for the demand that is still to be satisfied. There may be nowhere to put them, but a few extra lanes here and there would do many of us a huge favour.

Included in those who would benefit from a more freely moving traffic network are the drivers in the construction industry. Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority is making moves to ban heavy trucks from the roads during key periods of the day, to ease the flow of vehicles around the city. This sounds fine at first. However, for some operators, such as concrete companies who rely on moving a product with a short life span around the city, any change like that could dramatically reduce their hours of operation.

Given the pace and value of the region's construction industry - apparently topping US $2.4 trillion - it seems unlikely that rules restricting its growth will get very far.

One of the biggest contracts going at the moment is for work on the ambitious Arabian Canal. As this January issue of PMV was being finalised the contract for the job was close to being awarded. The job will require earthworks on a huge scale, calling for some enormous machinery. Current estimates suggest that 4 000 million m3 of earth will need to be moved.

Once the contractor or contractors are decided upon there's likely to be a flurry of activity and expectation, as the details of how this massive digging job will be brought to fruition emerge. The industry may be able to look forward to seeing some interesting new kit working in the region, more than that though, there will be plenty more trucks on the road, travelling to and from the sites. So maybe a few more roads are on the cards after all.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020