Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Supplies Coming

The Jummetor in Rio Bueno base in Trelawny.

Mark Titus, Business Reporter

Tank-Weld Metals has landed a US$2-million contract to supply storm-ravaged St Vincent and the Grenadines with an assortment of construction materials to be used in the repair of some 350 damaged homes.
The Vincentians, whose agricultural sector also suffered extensive damage amounting to an estimated EC$67 million, will receive a mix of steel, cement, roofing and lumber from the Bicknell family-run firm, to be supplied under a credit arrangement.

"The deal with the Ralph Gonsalves-led administration is an interest-free credit arrangement, but it is in line with our vision, and is certainly the kind of impact we are seeking to have throughout the region," Chris Bicknell, chief executive officer of the Seaward Drive-headquartered operation told Wednesday Business on Monday.
"We have done small deliveries to the Cayman Islands and we are looking at Haiti and other countries in the Eastern Caribbean, but we can only do it feasibly if it's a full cargo," he said. "This is our first full delivery," he said, referring to the St Vincent shipment. The Jummetor, Tank-Weld's cargo vessel, left port from its Rio Bueno base in Trelawny on Monday and is expected to arrive in Kingstown tomorrow.

The contract with the Gonsalves administration is worth under J$172 million, but there are indications that Tank-Weld expects to do additional business in that country, though Bicknell would not say precisely what his company is planning. "It took a hurricane to kick it off, but we intend to build on this," he said. Tank-Weld has been the leaders in the steel industry over the years, controlling over 70 per cent market share, but expanded into cement and lumber after the completion of its Rio Bueno facility in 2008, developed at a cost close to US$50 million.
Tank-Weld began importing and distributing lumber in September 2008 and cement in May 2009.

The company now claims 50 per cent share of the local lumber market, with its chief supplies coming from the mills of Mobil, Alabama, Brazil and Honduras; but Bicknell was unwilling to reveal the revenue generated from those sales. Tank-Weld, which distributes imported cement under a 10-year arrangement with American company Vulcan Materials, says it controls under 10 per cent of that market, but needs a 15 per cent share to remain profitable.