Last month, the home of Terex trucks in Motherwell, Scotland, held its annual Truck Days event. It was attended by more than 100 Terex distributors and customers from around the world – as well as an international media contingent who were there to find out more about the global manufacturer’s earthmoving machines.

ATTENDEES TRAVELLED FROM AFRICA, Asia, France, Germany, Russia, Scandinavia and the Middle East to see Terex’s manufacturing facility.

General Manager of the facility, Paul Douglas, said: “Our truck operation was the first business within Terex Corporation, as it is known today, and it is one of the oldest manufacturers of rigid and articulated trucks. We are, therefore, very proud of our heritage and enjoy sharing our history with international customers. There have been a lot of changes over the past few years in the development of our trucks and the factory, including a recent $5 million investment in manufacturing equipment. This week was the perfect opportunity for our customers to find out more about the advancement of our truck manufacturing business.”

Also present at the Truck Days, were Ronald Erasmus, MD of EQSTRA Heavy Equipment and Pieter Niemand and Henry Alberts of MCC. Peter Thompson, Regional Director, Terex Construction, Sub-Saharan Africa stressed the importance of the South African guests’ attendance as it, “Once again served to forge strong ties with our southern African truck dealer and MCC.”

At the event, delegates were given the opportunity to operate the TA300 and TA400 articulated trucks and took part in walk-around presentations on articulated and rigid trucks to gain an understanding of the distinctive features of the Terex vehicles.

CEN asked Peter to comment on where Terex was going in Africa and South Africa, specifically.

He explained, “We have successfully renegotiated our distribution agreement with EQSTRA Heavy Equipment, (previously EQSTRA Construction and Mining Equipment) for a further three years. With that, EHE successfully negotiated a deal with MCC for the delivery of 22 thirty-ton ADTs, to replace 22 of their older ADTs. Delivery will take place between now and early 2014.

“The older trucks will hopefully be re-assigned within southern Africa but, if not, we will look at other African markets and off-shore. One of the services Terex Trucks provides is the Terex used equipment team, which assists with the sale of our used equipment and that of our partners,” he explained.

Taking this writer through a number of projects, he elaborated on recent sales: “Generally, things are looking good in Zambia, with an order for a TR45 for Ndola Lime and, in Angola, we are currently negotiating a dealership agreement with a strong candidate based in Luanda. As you are aware, it’s a tough region, but our potential dealer has an excellent presence in the country so we are confident this will be a positive development for Terex in the future.”

“In Zimbabwe we recently delivered two trucks to a quarry near Harare and we are optimistic about future business towards the end of the year. He added that Terex had signed a contract in Nigeria with its dealer Holtaj, which supplies trucks to Dangote Cement, for 45 units. “This year, these trucks will be delivered all over Africa, with the majority going into Nigeria and others into East and southern Africa,” Peter added.

He said that Dangote Cement was looking at setting up cement quarries and factories in more regions in Africa. (Dangote Cement is part of the Dangote Group, the largest manufacturing
conglomerate in West Africa. It is Nigeria’s largest cement producer with operation in 14 African countries.)

“Holtaj has placed an order for an additional 10 trucks, due for delivery between now and the beginning of next year. Terex is pleased that Holtaj’s customer, Dangote Cement, is supportive of our brand, and stated that the Terex Rigid Truck is ‘an excellent truck to meet its production requirements’,” he attests.

Through its Algerian dealership, Cemco, Terex moved 25 trucks into that country, during the course of this year.

Commenting on the new truck range, Peter said that the specs were a combination of technology and simplicity. He believed that while it was vital to “keep up with the competition”, the Terex machines were not so highly specced that they were unsuitable for the emerging markets’ working environment. He maintained that the dirty fuel problem was so serious in Africa, that the advent of Tier IV engines was not going to impact on the continent any time soon, “not within the next ten years,” he commented. “Barring a few enhancements, our rigid trucks have not changed much and they remain simple, uncomplicated vehicles with mechanical Cummins engines, which will continue to power them into the foreseeable future.”

The ADT range comes standard with Scania engines, which although more sophisticated, are Tier II, making them more fuel efficient than the previous engine version. “While the vehicles have a few enhancements, they remain uncomplicated trucks and if operators are trained correctly, there should be few issues,” he added.

With Africa viewed as the ‘new frontier’ OEMs are clamouring to take their bite out of the market, resulting in ‘turf’ wars’ between the various manufacturers. In this scrabble, the Chinese continue to make their mark, eroding once stable markets as their more affordable, low-tech offerings are snapped up by start-up companies and budget conscious project managers.

However, Peter remains optimistic that time will prove whether or not the Asian brands have the staying power: “There are a few 100-ton trucks that have come onto the market, but realistically, the industry is waiting to see hours put onto the clock, before we can assess whether or not they will become major, serious, players.”

While, according to Peter, the sale of the Terex mining division a couple of years ago has left the existing range without excavators of a truck-loading capability, with the EQSTRA agreement in place, he is confi dent that the OEM will make inroads into the African and South African market places with the present basket of product offerings and the future will be less challenging than it has been over the last couple of years for the OEM.

Source: CEN