Fri, 26/01/2018 - 08:45
Lifting and Shifting
Providing machinery for large-scale industrial requirements
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Eddie Clinton
Al Faris Equipment Rentals celebrated its 25th year of operations in 2017, having experienced a meteoric rise to the top of a competitive industry.
In 1992 - shortly after the first Gulf War - the Company opened its doors with one second-hand truck-mounted crane and one trailer, tapping into the opportunity for re-growth within the UAE by capitalising on the need for construction and infrastructure equipment.
“Since the early days of our Company, we have grown to become the largest crane management fleet in the region,” begins the Director at Al Faris Equipment Rentals, Keonne Pinto. “In 25 years we have grown to obtain mobile cranes of a 700-1,200 tonne capacity, enabling us to meet the requirements for the vast majority of jobs within the industry.
“Building a trusted reputation through exceptional service delivery over the past quarter of a century within the UAE has ensured we are very well established; enabling us to branch into other markets of interest moving forward.”
Within its highly developed service offering over the years, Al Faris has defined itself, with a main area of focus being the provision of 24-hour operations at its in-house workshop.
“Any breakdowns can be dealt with in a short space of time, which is incredibly important to our customers in the oil fields that require very fast turnaround times,” explains Pinto. “We realised very quickly that any downtime would be costing companies a lot of money, therefore we provide them with a service that will save them money and strengthen our relationships.”
Over the years Al Faris has undertaken many major projects, massively increasing its expertise and appeal to customers within the market and further afield.
“Perhaps one of our biggest projects, completed in 2011, was the Dubai Metro, where we worked as one of the key crane rental companies involved,” continues Pinto. “We have also been invited back to work on the current expansion of the Metro system, reaffirming our relationship and dramatically increasing our portfolio’s strength.”
The Company’s main focus for projects over the first 20 years of its tenure has been on the UAE. However, in 2010 it decided to expand into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has proved to be a large market with a lot of the requirements the Company is able to provide.
Pinto adds: “We were especially excited to branch out into Saudi Arabia, as we knew that there were a plethora of oil & gas related jobs there ready for us to tap into.
“Slightly more than seven years later we now have around 600 employees on the ground within Saudi Arabia, and more than double that located within the UAE. Our main focus still remains within the UAE as we know the market very well and the requirements that we need to meet; that being said we have also carried out some jobs in Bahrain and Oman in order to test the potential within those markets.”
Alongside its testing work within the two aforementioned countries, the Company is also looking into African and Asian emerging markets where there is a lot of potential within the energy division moving forward.
Alongside studying and testing the best possible regions to branch into, the Company has also been focusing a lot of its energy on technology investments. The main bulk of this investment has been based on equipment, employees and internal infrastructure.
“Even during the recession in 2008, we have remained resolute with the promise to ourselves of consistent investment,” explains Pinto. “We were one of the only companies in the region that was still able to put money into new equipment and technological opportunities.”
More recently, Al Faris became the first company in the region to purchase the heaviest available mobile crane, weighing 1,200 tonnes.
Pinto states: “We were also the first Company to acquire a selection of LCR mobile cranes, a collection of which we are working to increase at present and which enables us to reach very complex locations for our customers.”
In terms of the more recent technological investments, the Company has implemented a more unified internal infrastructure. This has enabled operations - including payroll, HR and workshops - to be more streamlined, reducing downtime and creating better coordination within its internal structure.
Pinto continues: “In terms of our human capital and the investments that we have made there, we still focus our efforts on providing a very rigorous recruitment process in order to help us ensure that we are finding the right people to join the team and to help drive us forward.”
As seen by many companies globally within this industry, there has been a slowdown for oil & gas companies and this has been especially apparent in Abu Dhabi.
“This slowdown has resulted in some of our jobs being pushed back, predominantly due to cost-cutting,” adds Pinto. “At present this is noticeably reducing competition within the market as it is becoming a less viable option that it has been previously.
“Presently we are focusing our energy on infrastructure and civil engineering projects, which are in great supply and growing within the UAE region in particular.”
In every aspect of the Company’s operations it provides complete turnkey solutions to clients; not only contributing equipment for jobs, but becoming involved throughout the entire process, from the very beginning in terms of planning, right through to job execution.
“With thanks to our complete design and engineering team and in-house facilities, our service capabilities have increased dramatically which cements our position as a market leader,” concludes Pinto. “Looking forward I hope that we will continue to develop this reputation, alongside building a larger fleet while we work on expansion in other regions.”