Africa has always been an alluring expansion area for companies which are looking to develop the continent’s vast mineral wealth and resources. New discoveries of oil and natural gas off the coast of East Africa have once again enticed companies to reignite their pan-African expansion plans.
In order to take advantage of this, equipment hire stalwart Rand-Air – operating in East Africa under the auspices of their parent company as Atlas Copco Rental - has increased its capacity in this region. This has been done as a result of the increasing business activities and interest in the region.
Atlas Copco Rental Business Development Manager East Africa Hillary Kiongo says that expansion into the East African region is important for the company: “In East Africa there is active oil and gas exploration, which is in the upstream phase,” he points out.
“There are also significant deposits viable for commercial production to be found in Uganda and Kenya. Commercial gas deposits have in addition been found in Tanzania and Madagascar, with much midstream and downstream activity expected soon,” he adds.
Kiongo explains that these developments have reinforced the establishment of a dedicated team responsible for rental business within the region, active across Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Madagascar and the entire East African region.
There are a number of turnkey projects currently underway in the region, including the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET), the Kenya/Uganda/Rwanda railway and the Kenyan oil pipeline from Mombasa to Nairobi, and further to Uganda and Rwanda.
“The construction, installation, operation and maintenance phases of these and other projects all have potential compressed air and power hire requirements, which is of importance to us, “ Kiongo points out.
“There is also widespread mining activity, so our market offering is broad. We are also able to offer compressed air and power requirements for the manufacturing sector. All these various sectors can benefit from our equipment and services, as they do not have to invest in standby compressors or generators, but can explore either our short-term or longer-term industrial plant rental (IPR) options. In this way, companies can reduce their capital expenditure and other associated direct ownership costs,” he explains.
Rand-Air is well known for offering its customers a wide range of equipment and services where customer service and satisfaction – not to mention a stringent adherence to safety and quality standards - are central to the company’s core business ethos. This same commitment will be offered by Atlas Copco Rental in East Africa.
“The company will be offering holistic solutions for all our customers’ rental, service and support requirements. We will also be able to tailor products and services according to their needs.
In addition, and in line with our parent company’s approach, we adhere strictly to the in-country financial, operational and logistical regulations. This ensures that our regional customers enjoy a seamless and hassle-free experience,” Kiongo enthuses.
“Initially, we will be focusing on the oil and gas, construction, mining, water, exploration drilling, power generation and manufacturing industries. We will also be focusing on the pan-African tele-communications industry, which has enormous potential for expansion - particularly as the oil and gas sector grows. We are currently establishing our customer base within these market segments, and are aspiring to build strong relationships which will help us to successfully penetrate these sectors,” he explains.
Customers will have their pick of a wide range of equipment, including Atlas Copco compressors and generators. Atlas Copco Rental has quite a number of units currently in its fleet and some currently on import.
Hillary points out that Atlas Copco Rental intends to take one step at a time, expanding the fleet as business develops and grows.
“All in all, we will offer compressor boosters, steam boilers, nitrogen generators, dryers, lighting plants and any other Atlas Copco equipment - depending on demand. Benefits to customers include, but are not limited to, local support and back-up, availability of spares, highly trained and experienced staff and good workshop facilities,” says Hillary.
“In order for the company to grow in East Africa, we required a dedicated team which is capable of overcoming challenges and making a success in the region,” he adds.
“We will hire dedicated service technicians for every country in which we will be operating, in line with customer demand. Currently, we are leveraging the expertise of the existing Atlas Copco Construction Technique service team, which is highly trained and experienced.
There are a large number of multi-nationals making their presence felt here, and these companies are looking for reliable equipment and services to meet their requirements.
Atlas Copco Rental East Africa is well-positioned to be their first choice in compressed air, power and other industrial equipment,” concludes Hillary.