Global temporary-power provider Aggreko has opened its second South African depot, in Durban, as the company progresses with its “very large ambitions” to provide rental power and cooling equipment into the Southern African market.
Following the establishment of Aggreko’s first permanent service centre in Midrand, Gauteng, in 2009, the Durban depot – situated in the Riverside business park – will meet demand for rental power and temperature control in the KwaZulu-Natal area.
The company invested some R87-million in South African operations in the past 18 months.
Aggreko South & East Africa MD James Shepherd adds that the company plans to open two further facilities in South Africa in the next 18 months – one in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, and one in Cape Town, in the Western Cape.
All these facilities will be staffed with local technical, sales and managerial staff. The company aims to employ over 60 locals by 2015.
The Durban depot will largely serve the shipping and manufacturing sectors but will also bring Aggreko’s turnkey rental offering to the oil and gas, mining, construction and events industries.
“It made absolute sense to support our shipping clients – last year, some 26% of our revenues came from Durban, predomi- nantly from the shipping industry,” adds Shepherd.
“The new facility is ideally located to service the ports and shipping industry in Durban and Richards Bay, and the numerous industrial areas of the greater KwaZulu-Natal.
“We will continue to ensure that we employ and train locally as much as possible, as we are committed to being a part of South Africa’s future growth and development,” says Aggreko South Africa country manager Martin Foster.
The company will also boost other local industries as it also procures locally for some of the company’s requirements. Chillers are currently procured locally and modified to the company’s speci- fications, and low-voltage cable and spare parts for engines are also supplied by local suppliers.
Aggreko CEO Rupert Soames inaugurated the service centre in Durban, with about 100 guests touring the facility.
“When bad things happen, we can react very quickly. And when good things happen, such as infrastructure projects, we react just as quickly,” quipped Soames, noting that the company could rent power generating equipment for an event as small as a weekend party, or something as large as utility-scale generating capacity.
Shepherd boasts that, with the modular design of the equipment, the company was recently able to set up 170 MW of generating power in 71 days.
Currently, Aggreko has some 1,8 GW of power on rent in Africa, some of the larger projects being 310 MW, in Angola, and 290 MW, in Kenya. In Senegal and Uganda, the company has 100 MW projects, and, in Eritrea, a 30 MW temporary power supply with a mine.
In Southern Africa, Aggreko sees a lot of opportunity in Mozambique, especially in the Tete area, with companies like Vale. Agreko’s business in South Africa is already servicing projects in Namibia, Botswana, and Mozambique.
The business needs to be fluid as it is an emergency power business and often needs to react to situations, such as droughts in countries which rely on hydropower, or conflicts and natural disasters in areas of operation, or regions which experience strong economic growth. Shepherd notes that the modular design enables quick assembly or dismantling of units, and the global networks that the company operates in allow for units to be moved to wherever they are needed.
Many of the countries in the African market are experiencing strong gross domestic product growth and are starting to see the negative effects when they do not have power. Regardless of fuel price fluctuations, “the cost of not having power far outweighs the cost of paying for power”, reiterates Shepherd.
World Cup Legacy
Aggreko made its mark in South Africa when it partnered with black economic- empowerment giant Shanduka Energy and secured the £30-million contract to provide power for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The joint venture ensured that there was equipment supplying power to the ten stadiums, the FIFA headquarters and the international broadcast centre, which entailed the installation of some 300 km of cable and 30 MW of generating capacity.
The World Cup project was logisti- cally complex in that it relied on more distributed power than the average single site project.
Aggreko will also be supplying power for the 2012 Olympic Games, in London, and previously supplied some 85 MW of power for the Beijing Olympics.