What new initiatives is TESMEC involved in?
KAMEL: At the moment, we are preparing ourselves for the coming period because it is going to be very busy with many projects. We are primarily building our stock because we know when the stage comes, the production will not be enough to match the demand for the Qatari market for coming projects. We are building our stock and in the same time we are investing in our after-sales services. When it comes to trenchers, the after sales service is the most important thing in the operation because it minimizes project downtime. At the moment, we are building our new workshop and our new spare parts outlet, which will be 5,000 square meters in the Sanaya area. We need this to meet the service demands for the number of machines we are going to be putting into the market. We also want to offer better service for the existing machines that are already in operation. At the same time, we are looking to take the franchise of one of the most reputable dust control companies in the world. This will expand our product range to include turbine engines that spray water to reduce dust in the construction activities of trenchers, crushers, cement factories, demolition, etc. It will work for any industry that produces dust or gases and reduces the amount of dust or gas in the air. This is yet another step towards environmental stewardship as it will definitely help reduce the dust coming from all of the operations. We will finalize this very shortly and have it in the market for everybody.
What is trenching and why is it important?
KAMEL: A trencher machine is designed to carry out two main jobs. One of them is to create a trench in a rocky landscape where other machines cannot perform in the same way. So you can create an exact trench in less time with more productivity. The material produced from creating this trench can then be used as back filling of the trench again. All together, this is one of the main applications of the trencher. On the other hand there is another application for trenchers in bulk excavation. When it comes to bulk excavation or building tunnels, one trencher can be equipped with a wire drum. This drum can take up to a 60cm layer at a time in excavation and can go as deep as needed. We have one site in Saudi Arabia where our trencher reached a depth of 27m in making a foundation. There are also some small trenchers that are specialized in fiber optics. These can dig fiber optic trenches and lay the fiber optic cable and then cement the trench all in one stage with one operator. When it comes to Qatar, it is a little bit different than the other countries in the region. The land here is very hard and the rock is very abrasive. The conventional equipment does not meet this requirement and does not give the exact production expectation from the clients with regard to costs. That is why Qatar is a place that has one of the highest numbers of trenchers in the world. We are based here in Qatar because of that reason.
How would you describe the climate of the construction sector in Qatar today?
KAMEL: The construction sector in Qatar today is very healthy based on the expectations of the coming projects that will be released very shortly. Everybody is expecting this to come in Q1 or Q2 2012 and may even attract foreign companies to come and invest in Qatar for the next period.
How would you describe the availability of heavy equipment in the market?
KAMEL: At the moment there is plenty of heavy equipment because we are not the only ones stocking heavy equipment for the next coming period. Most of the agents for heavy equipment are doing the same. The availability now is pretty good and you can more or less find any machine you want. The projects coming, because they are big projects, will definitely affect supply. There will be moments of equipment shortages, as factories will not be able to meet demand. That is why we are stockpiling equipment now. We know from past experience that investing now for later periods means the most superior service for our clients.
What new technological advancements have been brought to the Qatari construction market?
KAMEL: I call trenchers new technology. It is used at the moment, but not everyone is using it in their operations. There are many advantages to using trenchers over the traditional hummers for breaking rocks. The amount of work that needs to be done actually decreases and the sides and bottom of trenches are more flat. One trencher has the productivity of 12 excavators and consumes only 1/3 of the fuel of 12 excavators. That means that 2/3 the amount of fuel is saved on a project. This is more environmentally friendly because less fuel consumption means less carbon footprint. It also makes for easier logistics on site. Imagine being able to replace 60 pieces of equipment with 4 pieces of equipment. The amount of production coming from these trenchers is much higher and you can reuse the material coming from the back filling, so there is no need to transport the material outside of the site and buy other material and transport it again into the site. Best of all, trenchers provide the only reasonable alternative to blasting. Blasting is an outdated method of using explosives to excavate or remove rock; it dates back to the 1600s, and can have devastating effects on the community – dangerous vibrations risk damaging surrounding structures, incredible amounts of dust and noise are expelled, and chemicals are used that may contaminate the soil and water. Trenching is more practical, especially in congested urban areas, reduces health & safety risks, and allows engineers to break the same hard rock while minimizing any negative effects to the environment and community.
The construction sector in Qatar today is very healthy based on the expectations of the coming projects that will be released very shortly. Everybody is expecting this to come in Q1 or Q2 2012 and may even attract foreign companies to come and invest in Qatar for the next period.
In what ways are contractors adapting to innovation and new methods and techniques?
KAMEL: The way contractors have adapted to new trencher technology varies from one contractor to another. The leaders are already using trenchers and the followers are starting to look into trenchers as well. Day by day they are becoming more convinced about the technology and the savings they are making by using this technology.
What are the environmental implications of trenching?
KAMEL: When it comes to environmental applications for trenchers, the productivity of one trencher equals the productivity of 12 excavators. One trencher uses less than 1/3 of the fuel consumption of 12 excavators. That means you are reducing fuel consumption by 2/3 and this is a benefit to the environment. So trenching is definitely environmentally friendly when compared to traditional ways to do the same type of work. Also, with regard to the noise, a trencher will produce much less noise than the equivalent fleet of excavators. Trenching also replaces the need for the destructive approach of blasting. Trenchers are environmentally-friendly regarding dust, the carbon footprint, and noise pollution as well.