OEMs need to invest in their GCC operations now

By focussing on simple models and investing in aftersales support, off-highway truck manufacturers will be well placed for growth once the oil prices recover

The GCC’s construction sector has slowed down significantly since the oil prices began to fall, but it is still consuming products from the off-highway haulage equipment market.

The economic climate within the region has, to some extent, dented the confidence that customers once had in purchasing new equipment. This, however, has led to an increase in demand for used machines.

The priorities of customers in today’s market have also hardened, with fleet owners trading in overly feature-led models for simple, robust units. This plays particularly well into the hands of manufacturers like Terex Trucks and its parent company, Volvo Construction Equipment. Put simply, customers are looking for high-quality machines that are well supported with a ready supply of spare parts and technical expertise.

In order to cater to these shifting requirements, it is important to both manufacture a suitably diverse range of models, and maintain an effective sales and aftersales support network.

Terex Trucks, for example, has five dealers supplying and supporting its units in the GCC region. The Scotland-based company manufactures three articulated hauler models, ranging from 25 to 38 tonnes; and four rigid hauler models, ranging from 41t to 91t.

Of these seven models, it is the rigid concept that has proved most popular among GCC fleet operators, due to the region’s geological and sector-specific demands.

An example of the region’s shifting priorities came in 2016, when Oman Cement Company (OCC) purchased two of Terex Trucks’ TR60 rigid dump models to work at one of its quarries in Muscat. Supplied by Al Fairuz, the 55t-capacity trucks are being used to collect limestone, quartzophyllades, iron ore, and kaolin from the quarry, and to transport blasted raw materials to the firm’s crusher.

OCC’s decision to award Terex Trucks the contract ahead of two other top global manufacturers was a real testament to the machines’ simple design, not to mention the capabilities of our regional service engineers.

Comedat, meanwhile, recently added a substantial number of used machines – a combination of Terex Trucks’ 91t-capacity TR100s and versatile TR60s – to its portfolio. The company, which operates both in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, is a long-standing customer of Terex Trucks. Some of the units that it purchased are being used to haul overburden removal, while others are operating 56m below the surface to carry phosphate.

Put simply, this order demonstrates that Comedat trusts these models – which provide excellent rimpull thanks to their resilient drivetrains and rear-axle configurations – to maximise efficiency across its open-cast operations.

Based on the popularity of the rigid concept for large mining operations in the GCC region, our team is continuing to invest in this segment with the full support of Volvo CE. All such investments will help to make our products more reliable, as well as easier to use and support. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the Terex Trucks brand is ideally positioned when the oil prices recover.

In order to achieve this goal, it is vital for our company to remain competitive in the market, presenting compelling offers while guaranteeing proven and reliable products that can be sold into arduous environments, and that allow for a straightforward approach to maintenance. It is also important for us to continue to invest in, and strengthen, our regional sales team and dealer network.

By adopting similar strategies, off-highway truck manufacturers can cement their footprints, and position themselves to capitalise on the uptick in demand that is likely to result from the continued oil price recovery.

Etienne Lalande is Terex Trucks’ regional director for North Africa and Middle East.

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