Oman with a van: Gorica's use of Iveco's New Daily
P. Subramaniyan, general manager for Gorica Vehicles Oman, discusses the boom in the waste management segment and the bodybuilder’s development work with the Iveco New Daily
The bulk of Gorica Vehicles & Co.’s business is fabricating trailers and semi-trailers for 6x4 and 4x2 tractor head trucks and bodybuilding 8x4 trucks, in other words heavy vehicles.
This has traditonally been a strong market in Oman and P. Subramaniyan, GM for Gorica Vehicles Oman, arrived in the country six years ago to build up the business.
He explains: “When we came six years ago to this part of Ghala, we just had a shed — but we grew and developed from there and finally made a dent in the market.”
However, the situation brought about by the dip in the price of oil, which accounts for 80% of Oman’s GDP, has turned the situation.
“The trailer market in Oman at this point is quite sluggish, because there are no big projects being awarded by the government at the moment, so fleet operators are managing with whatever they have,” he admits.
Despite this, there is a significant avenue of growth rapidly opening up in the country for medium to light commercial vehicle bodies.
Where Gorica is finding work, in spite of the sluggish market conditions, is in the waste management sector. Here, as part of a government initiative, Oman is implementing a major programme of de facto privatisation under the public environmental services body Be’ah, or the Oman Environmental Services Holding Company, to subcontract waste management services across the country.
Subramaniyan explains: “They are bringing in awareness, and I’m glad that in Oman, after so many years, the awareness level is going up. They’re likely to bring in taxation for garbage as well. This is an essential service: the population is growing, it will keep growing and as the population grows, waste production is not going to decrease.”
Conversely, as it increases, Oman will need a better fleet, better awareness and for people to handle waste in a better way, and Gorica is adamant that the industry will only grow.
“We are doing work for international contractors that handle garbage collection and the movement of garbage into the landfill for the government. We’ve already worked with two or three such companies.
“One of our customers is a joint venture between French environmental services firm Veolia and Oman’s Al Ramooz National, which is going to manage the collection and transportation of waste in Buraimi and Ibri. We have also worked with Spain’s Urbaser — they are a major client for us that is handling the Barka-Mussanah area and we have a big fleet, almost 45 units, with them.”
Gorica has also worked with the Abu Dhabi’s West Coast and other European and Gulf-based waste management companies now jostling for waste contracts in Oman.
Beyond its regional fabrication facilities, Gorica’s role as a distributor for brand such as Palfinger cranes — including the hook loaders used in waste disposal — and Farid Industrie waste compactors allow it to provide a complete waste collection package.
Subramaniyan notes: “We are already providing similar equipment to waste management companies that need hook loaders to lift these open topped garbage containers. Palfinger is a major supplier.”
This emerging segment is also of particular interest to Iveco, which last year launched its New Daily light commercial vehicle platform with its Omani dealer International Equipment & Contracting Company (IECC), a subsidiary of Oman’s Suhail Bahwan Group.
The New Daily has the classic ladder-frame chassis structure integral to the sturdiness and durability of its predecessor — the original Iveco Daily — but has otherwise had 80% of its components redesigned and optimised to both host a range of chassis cab variants and facilitate bodybuilding.
The new vehicle architecture also has a reduced rear overhang and allows for longer wheelbases, which Iveco hastens to point out does not compromise the proven agility of the Daily in confined spaces.
At the same time, standard quad-leaf front suspension on the 3.5t single wheel models, has been introduced to increase both the load-carrying capacity and maximum payload of the axles.
Gorica is currently interested in the Iveco New Daily for two reasons, and the first is a pilot project between the two companies for the development of a mobile repair and maintenance workshop.
The vehicle is a high-roof van variant of the New Daily that has been equipped with a small compressor, a generator, a workbench with a vice and a basic set of work tools.
Subramaniyan explains: “We had not conceived of the idea of a mobile workshop at that time, and only did after we worked on the Be’ah contracts with companies like Urbaser or Imdaad. They said it was high time that we had our own mobile workshop to give them confident in our aftersales presence, so now the mobile workshop is available for the team to go and check things out.”
Gorica’s technicians previously carried their tools in bags and would often travel and stay overnight when going to visit client, or Gorica would ask their customers to bring vehicles or trailers back to them for maintenance. The new state of play represents a marked improvement, Subramaniyan acknowledges.
For both Gorica and Iveco the vehicle is also a highly visible platform for advertising, and it appears to be doing the trick.
Gorica already has two more high-roof van units on the way — one for the joint venture between Veolia and Oman’s Al Ramooz National that will also be used by the customer as a mobile tyre changing workshop, and will also be fitted with tyre storage and tools.
Subramaniyan says: “The Veolia Al Ramoos team would want to use this not only as a workshop, but also as a spare wheel changer — so they want to have a spare wheel for a 6x4 truck on this unit.
“I see a future for the New Daily range: both the 4x4 and high roof van. We really saw the advantage of a guy being able to get in the van and walk around with sufficient headspace to carry out maintenance work.
“The vehicle is big enough and the space is sufficient for us to be able to keep a host of tools and a work bench. The solution has been good for us — and I think that is also what our customers have appreciated.
“We also wanted to have a very clean flat surface on the outside [for Gorica’s branding] for us to get our mileage out of it — so in that way this product is good.”
The 4x4 version of the New Daily holds further potential within the waste management sector, as its specification suits the mounting of a 5.5m3 compactor to create a feeder vehicle for large 25m3 municipal waste trucks in areas that might otherwise be hard for them to reach.
Subramaniyan explains: “If they are in a village up in the interior mountains where there are just 20 families, they will send a small 4x4 van because they can’t afford to take 4x2 trucks or 6x4 trucks with long wheel bases where the turning radius is a problem.
“The advantage with a 5.5m3 compactor is it can be being used as a satellite that goes and collects garbage from the village and then returns to the point where the main 25m3 truck is to transfer the waste over. It also allows bigger trucks to avoid entering industrial or residential areas.
“So the light vehicle does all the legwork and all the waste from the 5.5m3 compacter, which is able to lift up and tip, is transferred into the hopper of the bigger truck — and from there it goes to the landfill.”
He highlights that there are already four Iveco New Daily chassis cabs making their way to Gorica Oman to be mounted with these 5.5m3 waste compactors.
Needless to say, Iveco is by no means short on competition. Gorica has already negotiated with one client that pushed for a GMC or Ford vehicle, but a lack of patience for the long lead time of the US brands — five and a half months including shipping and bodybuilding — eventually tipped in Iveco’s favour.
Subramaniyan also points to the strength of Iveco’s existing aftersales network in Oman — through the IECC and the Suhail Bahwan Group, which is one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the country.
Iveco’s brand recognition also went through the roof last year in Oman after Galfar Engineering and Contracting — itself one of the largest and most respected contractors in the country — ordered 250 of Iveco’s heavy-duty Trakker trucks for the ongoing development of a seaport and refinery at Duqm.
Subramaniyan affirms: “After that big shot in the arm that they got with Galfar, they are positioned quite well. As a number of pieces were sold, that order was fairly good and it really put Iveco on the map.”
He nonetheless notes that Iveco still has a fight on its hands with respect to Hino and Mitsubishi Fuso, and particularly the latter, because it comes from Daimler but is made in India — pushing down the price. He adds, however, that Mitsubishi is strongest in the medium segment and so, Iveco has an opportunity at the lighter end.
Either way, the fresh business being generated by the overhaul of Oman’s waste management fleet is a boon for Gorica, and it isn’t over yet. Subramaniyan notes: “Six or seven contracts have been awarded and two are in operation. The entire of Oman should be up and running by May or June 2017.”
There is still much to play for, and of course, the waste will always keep on coming.