Astec Industries, global manufacturer of specialised equipment for asphalt road building, aggregate processing and concrete production, has its sights set on growth opportunities in Africa and the Middle East.
Calvin Fennell, Astec Industries Africa and Middle East regional sales director for Infrastructure Solutions, says that the timing is ideal for the organisation’s strategic expansion into these regions.
Africa’s vast infrastructure deficit is a constraint on its growth, but also an opportunity to leapfrog to new, more efficient technologies. This was one of the findings in the Investment and Market Opportunities in Africa 2021 – 22 Report by India Infrastructure Research. Fennell concurs and says that the company offers the innovative technology and state-of-the-art equipment needed to drive infrastructure development.
This report also determined that while Covid-19 had led to disruptions in project delivery, raw material availability, labour supply, capacity addition and investments, activity has started up again with the phased lifting of lockdowns across countries. The researchers concluded that as growth picks up in the post-Covid world, Africa will continue to offer substantial opportunities in sectors such as roads, railways, urban transport, electricity, renewables, and oil and gas.
Following the rebranding and unification of the company in 2021 under the ONEAstec business model, the organisation is perfectly positioned to capitalise on opportunities to grow its footprint in Africa and the Middle East, Fennell states. “We can offer customers in these regions the benefits of our advanced equipment designed to build infrastructure that physically connects the world; equipment that has earned a reputation for innovation, world-class quality and reliability since the company was founded in 1972.
“Investment by governments in infrastructure is of critical importance, not only to enhance social and economic development through regional trade, but also to address Africa’s dire unemployment rate,” Fennell asserts, adding that the International Monetary Fund predicts that the unemployment rate in South Africa will be 38.6% in 2026.
“Asphalt, construction equipment, concrete and energy are integral to infrastructure development,” he notes. “Our company offers unrivalled solutions in all these areas. Our integrated process solutions encompass asphalt plants, concrete plants, burners and heaters, silos and storage tanks. Furthermore, our construction machinery solutions include equipment for road building, paving, forestry, and recycling.
“Our company is a leader in the production of both hot and warm mix asphalt equipment technology, and offers a complete line of portable, relocatable and stationary solutions. We are in the unique position of being able to provide all the components of a bitumen terminal or blending system, from design, engineering, equipment manufacturing, controls, installation, and service. Being a one-stop provider means that our customers get a fully integrated system that is backed by the same people that made it,” Fennell states.
“Our industrial heating systems can be found in facilities around the world, including oil and gas processing plants, fertiliser and chemical plants, and power generation facilities.
“We offer a full line of concrete batch plants and accessories for the ready mix, paving and precast industries, paste back-fill plants for the mining sector, bagging plants, and custom batch plants to service the needs of the world’s largest infrastructure projects. Our complete line of plants, and range of capacities and features, means that our customers have the choices and flexibility to create their optimum solution.”
Fennell says that the company’s road construction equipment like the milling machines, recyclers and material transfer vehicles are readily used in addressing road infrastructure challenges for governments, municipalities and contractors in North America, and the same technologies can and are being applied in Africa but to a lesser extent and this is where the opportunity exists. “As an example, our ‘shuttle buggy’ is a state-of-the-art material transfer vehicle that is used worldwide to achieve consistently high-quality asphalt surfaces. Even design engineers for the FIA have recognised the shuttle buggy’s exceptional capabilities in delivering quality asphalt for paving with our shuttle buggy being specified for use on the construction of F1 tracks, most recently in Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” he reveals.
The company’s cold-in-place recycling (CIR) equipment makes it possible to repair damage to a roadway in one single pass while reusing 100% of the existing material. “This represents significant potential for savings, not only through the re-use of material, but also by reducing equipment requirements, and through time savings,” Fennell explains.
He says that the company is currently expanding its regional presence through new distributors and dealers throughout Africa and the Middle East. “We want to ensure that in addition to having access to our exceptional infrastructure solutions, our customers in the regions have the peace of mind, ease and convenience of an experienced and outstanding in-country presence,” Fennell concludes.