Factory visit: GORICA Industries' UAE facilities

PMV visits GORICA's truck body and semi-trailer production site

GORICA uses sophisticated plant at its Jebel Ali site, including this computer numeric control (CNC) plasma cutting device.
GORICA uses sophisticated plant at its Jebel Ali site, including this computer numeric control (CNC) plasma cutting device.

PMV travels to Jebel Ali in Dubai to speak with GORICA Industries’ senior management, and to take a look around the firm’s truck body, trailer, and semi-trailer manufacturing facilities

The United Arab Emirates is a crucial hub for the PMV industry, not only in terms of the Middle East, but also at a global level. With its business-friendly government and world-class infrastructure, the country represents a strategic gateway that connects the East to the West.

A great deal of equipment is sold in, from, and through the UAE, but it is not a country commonly associated with manufacturing per se.

Whilst some multinationals own UAE manufacturing outposts, their main production activities tend to be conducted elsewhere.

GORICA Industries is a company that is bucking this trend – and in a big way. The Dubai-headquartered firm uses local production facilities to supply a wide array of truck bodies, trailers, and semi-trailers to customers across the Middle East.

Situated in Jebel Ali, Dubai, GORICA’s sizeable production site features a head office, three factories, and enough space to house the products fabricated and serviced by its 600-strong workforce. One thing that is immediately noticeable when visiting the site is the sheer breadth of truck body varieties that are being produced.

From its Jebel Ali base, GORICA manufactures general-cargo trailers and semi-trailers, tipping semi-trailers and bodies, low-bed trailers and semi-trailers, tank semi-trailers and truck-mounted tankers, dry-bulk tankers, transit mixers, municipal equipment, such as combination vacuum-jetting units and refuse compactors, oilfield and pressurised vessels, and refrigerated semi-trailers and truck-mounted bodies.

Moreover, because GORICA supplies to countries across the Middle East and Africa, many of the product varieties that it manufactures have to be built according to different regulatory standards.

Despite the mindboggling diversity of GORICA’s production activities, the firm is able to separate its business into four core divisions: logistics, construction, municipality, and oil and gas. However, with plans to build a non-ferrous manufacturing facility in Dubai Industrial City (DIC), GORICA intends to add the perishable goods sector to this list.

“Our standard products, such as trailers, semi-trailers, curtain-siders, and flat-beds can be used by logistics companies wishing to carry general and palletised cargo,” explained Ivan Fornazaric, managing director of GORICA Industries.

“Then there are our construction-related products such as tipping trailers, concrete mixers, and low-bed trailers. They are used to carry specialised cargo. In addition, we produce products designed for specific municipal tasks, and we are making good progress within the field of oil and gas.

Finally, we manufacture refrigerated bodies and semi-trailers, and we have plans to significantly increase our production capacity in this area,” he added.

Each of the factories located at GORICA’s Jebel Ali site has its own focus. The first factory, for example, is used to produce general cargo semi-trailers, low-bed semi-trailers, and tipping semi-trailers.

The second concentrates on the production of fuel, water, sewage, and jetting tankers, in both truck-mounted and semi-trailer varieties. Dry-bulk tankers and semi-trailers, oilfield equipment, and pressurised vessels are also produced in this facility. The third factory, meanwhile, manufactures transit cement mixers and municipality equipment such as refuse compactors.

The third factory is also being used as the current production base for refrigerated units. However, these activities will be transferred to the DIC facility when it opens in 2015. Despite GORICA’s plans for expansion, its Jebel Ali facilities have so far enabled the firm to provide locally manufactured products to customers throughout the Middle East.

“Historically, we have operated across the region,” Fornazaric told PMV.

“For GORICA, it was never just about Dubai or the UAE, but about the GCC as a whole. Then comes the rest of the Middle East; countries such as Iraq, Yemen, and Jordan. Finally, we supply to certain areas in North and East Africa. These, I would say, are the core markets in which we have traditionally done business,” he added.

At present, GORICA’s core business stems from the GCC’s construction industry. However, Fornazaric and his colleagues expect that the logistics, oil and gas, and perishable goods sectors will come to account for larger proportions of the company’s revenue during the coming years.

“If you were to compare GORICA’s sales to those of our Western competitors, I think that we would definitely have a higher proportion related to construction,” he said.

“Conversely, truck body manufacturers in Europe are probably selling more logistics-related products – proportionally – than we are.

At present, products such as tippers and mixers account for the highest percentage of our sales, but I think that we are going to see growth in general transportation across the GCC during the coming years. As such, we would like to increase our operations within the general logistics sector, and of course, that of perishable goods as well.”

In addition to the 600-plus employees working at its Jebel Ali site, GORICA has invested in sophisticated pieces of manufacturing plant capable of producing truck bodies that meet both specific customer needs and relevant regulatory standards.

For example, the factories house precision plasma cutters, automatic welding machines, submerged arc-welding kit, dishing and flanging equipment, shearing machines and press brakes, automatic polyurethane injection units, and a variety of jigs and fixtures. GORICA’s activities in Jebel Ali are anything but low tech.

Indeed, if the Middle East’s manufacturing community is to successfully compete with those operating in other regions, it must show a willingness to invest in the latest plant and technology. As Fornazaric explained, if a company in the Middle East has high-calibre manufacturing capabilities, it can use a combination of local knowledge and regional legislation to push home its advantage in the market.

“In terms of competitors based outside the GCC, GORICA’s advantage is that it is a local manufacturer with a strong presence,” he said.

“We have in-depth knowledge and experience of the road conditions and driver competency levels that are common within different parts of the region. Because of our after-sales network, we are also able to offer superior levels of service to customers across the Middle East. In addition, it is important to remember that these products are very big.

To bring truck bodies into the region by sea costs money. Obviously, this problem does not apply to GORICA. Moreover, as a locally registered company, no duties have to be paid by customers based in other parts of the GCC who choose to import our products.”

Whilst such factors enable GORICA to remain competitively priced in relation to their overseas counterparts, Fornazaric believes that it is the company’s manufacturing processes that set it apart from its regional rivals.

“The situation varies from product to product, but our overall aim is to stay ahead of the rest, in terms of the quality and design of our truck bodies,” he concluded. “When designing products, we look towards regulatory standards enforced in regions, such as North America and Europe to manufacture bodies that are of the highest possible quality.”

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