Nigeria: More Italdraghe Dredgers in Africa

With a recent supply of an SGT 600 heavy duty dredger to Giorgio Dredging Nigeria Ltd, Italdraghe continues a trail of successes with dredge supplies to Africa, a venture that began first in the early 1970s when it supplied a small SGT 200 B cutter suction dredger to another Italian company that had won a Nigerian tender for a range of construction projects, including dredging work in Lagos.

Progress with that first supply opened the eyes of the founders of the company to the huge possibilities being offered at that time by certain African countries and consequently Italdraghe, which up until then had focussed mainly on its domestic market, decided to invest significant financial and human resources in the area. It has since supplied dredgers to eleven different countries across the continent.

In some of the more northerly African countries with a long history of dredging activities and a pool of skilled dredgemasters Italdraghe was often called upon to simply supply, assemble and commission its dredgers, leaving the operation of the same in the hands of experienced local operators.

However by contrast, in some other countries, such as Guinea, the long-term presence of Italdraghe technicians on-site was in fact required in order to teach basic dredging skills to the employees of local companies who found themselves taking the bridge controls for the very first time.

Nigeria has always been a key market for Italdraghe and is home to some of its most important clients. Compared to customers in neighbouring countries where relatively small cutter suction dredgers are still often required, Nigerian customers now almost exclusively order dredgers from the larger end of the company’s product range. In fact whereas greatest demand from Nigeria back in the seventies was for dredgers with discharge diameters of between 200 and 350 mm, most requests now are for 600 mm discharge diameter dredgers, often equipped with complete packages of accessory equipment typically including booster stations, on-shore/floating pipeline and positioning systems.

The latest supply to Nigeria is a heavily accessorised SGT 600 dredger ordered by one client which now has a whole fleet of Italdraghe dredgers. He had started from scratch with no previous dredging experience. Although from the outset he was able to easily find local dredging teams to operate his newly-delivered Italian dredgers, it was Italdraghe that he called in to help set up his dredger base, to train his on-site technicians, to organise and manage his spare parts supplies and to programme the ever-important maintenance operations.

Following on from the supply of dredgers to Benin, Cameroon, the Congo (ex Zaire), the Ivory Coast and Libya, Italdraghe became involved in a very unusual dredging project in Uganda. The dredger ordered was destined to work in Lake Kioka, the source of a river flowing into the Nile. The central section of the dredger, which had been built to very precise client specifications, was in actual fact wider than the road down which it was to be transported, and therefore the dredger was only able to be delivered on site once the road had been specially widened for this purpose.

While a majority of African clients continue to demand diesel dredgers, Italdraghe has also, over the decades, supplied the continent with a number of electric dredgers. One of these was delivered to the Popular Republic of Congo (previously Zaire) and destined to work in the hydroelectric reservoir at Inga.

Since the early days another key north African market for Italdraghe has been Egypt. Through Draghe Lario Srl, a fully-owned company belonging to the Italdraghe Group, it has supplied tens of mainly medium-sized dredgers to this country. Although a small proportion of these were for coastal projects, the majority were destined for government and private maintenance dredging work along the numerous transportation channels flowing into the main artery of the River Nile.

In a time of global recession, demand for dredgers from Africa has remained strong and Italdraghe has continued to supply the continent with one dredger after another, with the most recent dredger deliveries including to Algeria and Angola.

[mappress]

Source: italdraghe, January 12, 2011

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