Boost for Local Players in Mining: New heavy-duty trucks expected to build capacity

    JN Group

    Players in the local mining, haulage and construction sectors are anticipating a boost in their production capacity with the availability of brand new heavy-duty trucks for purchase in Jamaica.

    Tank Weld has expanded into motor vehicle distribution, becoming the exclusive dealers of the China-made Shacman brand in Jamaica and the Caribbean. The company’s new line of business has reduced the need for total reliance on mainly American-made used trucks.

    “This is a revolution in trucking. The partnership between Tank Weld, Shacman and JN Bank is unbeatable; and I believe Shacman will become the truck of choice throughout Jamaica,” said Tank Weld’s managing director, John Ralston. The purchase of the trucks are being financed exclusively by JN Bank.

    New local miners, Conveyance Partners JA Limited, is among companies which are already set to expand their capacity using the new line of heavy-duty trucks. They have purchased 14 trucks for their fleet, which represents Tank Weld’s largest sale to date, since entering the market nine months ago.

    The nearly one year-old Conveyance Partners JA, which mines bauxite ore for Jamalco in Clarendon; and handles bauxite for dome feeding at Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) Alpart in St Elizabeth, is a sister company of Conveyance and Konstruk’Shon Limited, an 18 year-old player in the building and construction industry.

    Speaking at the handover of the new trucks at Tank Weld’s offices in Six Miles, St Andrew recently (May 12), managing director of Conveyance Partners JA, Naomi Dawkins, said the purchase of the new fleet of China-made Shacman trucks is important, particularly in the context of the boost in production influenced by the reopening of the JISCO Alpart refinery in Naine, St Elizabeth, and several construction developments across the country.

    “There is a shortage of trucks in Jamaica, at this time; and a lot of mining is taking place, for aggregates, such as sand and gravel; hence, there is a lot of hauling,” she explained.

    She said the new fleet of China-made Shacman trucks, distributed by Tank Weld, will position the company to exceed demand.

    The company’s project director, Collis McCalla said the Shacman trucks are more efficient, as they are able to haul significantly more ore than the fleet of American-made used trucks on which it currently relies.

    “These (Shacman) trays carry up to 35 tonnes, while the average truck hauls 25 tonnes; therefore, the Shacman trucks are more productive and their turnaround rate will be better,” Mr McCalla commented.

    He also noted that the structure and make of the trucks result in more efficiency.

    “It (Shacman trucks) has outdone all the trucks currently in our fleet. It performs better when driving out of 15 per cent gradient pits. Its rigid back-ends are better and the efficiencies, in terms of fuel consumption, are also better,” he explained.

    “These trucks are specifically made for the mining industry; therefore, we hand-picked them, because with our current trucks there is more downtime as a percentage of our fleet goes down on a daily basis; and, we are unable to maximise our production capacity,” added Ms Dawkins.

    In addition, with the establishment of Shacman’s Regional Offices in Six Miles, St Andrew, access to after-sales service will be easier, she noted.

    The company, which currently relies on independent contractors, says it needs 30 to 40 trucks daily to meet its capacity, and will be purchasing another 14 trucks before year-end to meet its demand.

    “We do about 6,500 tonnes per day, and that will be increased to 10,000 tonnes; therefore 14 trucks are not adequate; however, it’s part of our strategy to combine company-owned assets with independent contractors, because we want to extend the benefits to small contractors,” Mr McCalla explained.

    Curtis Martin, acting managing director of JN Bank, the sole bank financing the purchase of the trucks, said that the initiative led by Tank Weld, will strengthen economic prospects in the mining sector, which currently relies on local contractors to haul ore.

    “Initiatives, such as this one, are important to us at JN Bank, because it underscores our philosophy, which is centred on developing solutions to empower all segments of the Jamaican economy,” Mr Martin said. “And, we firmly believe that the haulage subsector is one of those areas in which our country can achieve significant growth.”

    We, therefore, look forward to our continued partnership with Tank Weld and Shacman in this venture; as well as, the positive developmental spin-offs that will certainly emerge from our on-going collaborative efforts,” the JN Bank managing director affirmed.