Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dangote Sinotruk rolls out trucks, targets local, ECOWAS markets

As the $100 million Dangote Sinotruk West Africa Ltd assembly plant in Lagos begins the production of trucks, the management has hinted of plans to export the vehicles to neighbouring markets after meeting local demands.

A 65 percent/35 per cent joint venture between the Dangote Group founded by Africa’s foremost industrialist, Aliko Dangote, and China’s Sinotruk, the plant has the capacity to assemble at least 10, 000 heavy duty trucks and sundry commercial vehicles a year and create about 3, 000 jobs when the facility is fully operational by 2018.

Speaking during a media tour to mark the formal roll-out of the Sinotruk heavy duty trucks, the Group General Manager {Projects}, Hikmat Bahadur Thapa, and the General Manager, Dangote Sinotruk, Daniel Biju, disclosed that the plant is presently producing four to five trucks a day.

It was, however, learnt that the auto maker would be embarking on two assembly shifts by June his year, while the local production of the cabin or hood would begin by February 2018 as part of the plans to shore up the local content in the trucks and raise capacity utilisatiion.

Daily production is expected to rise to about 16 units a day in the next few months, and 20 to 30 daily, when full operation begins during the third stage of the implementation of the plant project.

“One of the objectives of setting up Dangote Sinotruk is to form a base for heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles in West Africa. With this, not only the market demands in Nigeria can be met, but also the requirements of covering the neighboring countries will be gradually met,” Hikmat Thapa disclosed.

Located on Oba Akran Street in Ikeja, Dangote Sinotruk was built to produce a full range of commercial vehicles covering heavy duty trucks, medium trucks, light trucks and other related vehicles for haulage and logistics, construction and industrial uses.

The visiting journalists were informed that the project dovetails into government’s drive towards the diversification of the economy with emphasis on the local production.

And to deepen efforts in this regard, Biju explained that the trucks maker was having talks with its partners to encourage their input suppliers in China to come to Nigeria and set up parts production facilities in order to further shore up the local content level in the made-in Nigeria Sinotruk.

It also came to the fore during the visit that with the coming on stream of the assembly plant, all the companies hitherto engaged in the local assembly of Sinotruk and the importation fully built up units, will now have to come under the umbrella of Dangote Sinotruk as the joint venture confers on it exclusive control of the brand in the Nigerian market. A nationwide distribution and after-sales service network, it was gathered, would be set to ensure availability and ease of usage by customers.

Earlier while taking the visitors through the facility during production, the Project Manager, Dangote Group,  Tijani Momodu , explained the process of assembling the trucks. He stressed that production is never over until the vehicles rolling out have been inspected with relevant equipment to obviate skidding and okay the axle weight, brake, exhaust, steering, speaker and the headlamps.

Adjoining the production area is the training where technical staff’s skills and knowledge of Sinotruk technology are updated.

“Sinotruk is very strict on quality. Quality control experts hold regular training for the staff to ensure that everything is done in compliance with Sinotruk’s high standards,”  the guests were informed, even as Biju assured that due to a technological intercourse between the Chinese brand and MAN, a reputable German trucks giant, “the Sinotruk technology is as good as German”.

The largest manufacturing conglomerate in West Africa, Dangote Industries Limited was established in May, 1981 with products range covering cement, fertilizer, sugar, flour, salt, pasta and drinks, in addition to providing services in petroleum, natural gas, automobile, communications, as well as iron and steel.

On the other hand, its partner in the trucks assembly project, Sinotruk was established in 1960, and is the cradle of China’s heavy-duty truck, and the largest production and export base for heavy-duty trucks in China.

-Sun

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