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SHACMAN enters market

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 29, 2018

IT was a room full of business giants that witnessed the official launch of Jamaica's newest dealership, SHACMAN Jamaica, at The Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Monday.

An arm of Tank-Weld Equipment, SHACMAN Jamaica is the sole distributor for the Chinese-made SHACMAN Trucks in the island and Caribbean.

“SHACMAN and Tank-Weld partnering in Jamaica and the Caribbean has brought together two companies that focus on providing quality products with excellent after-sales service and adequate parts supply,” John Ralston, managing director of Tank-Weld Equipment, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

Ralston is also chairman of the two-month-old New Car Dealers' Association of Jamaica.

The dealership exclusively offers SHACMAN's line of commercial trucks and is located at a 3,200-sq-ft showroom off Mandela Highway in St Catherine. The facility boasts a 12-bay workshop for pre-delivery, maintenance and repairs. Parts will be managed by a state-of-the-art management system. The dealership offers in-bond facility for up to 50 trucks. SHACMAN has also posted five staff members to further support their brand in the region.

According to Ralston, the partnership was forged more than a year ago when he noticed the quality and reliability of the SHACMAN Trucks being used by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) on local construction projects. As Tank-Weld was looking into the viability of upgrading their own expansive and diverse fleet, the company reached out to SHACMAN and were further impressed.

“The ultimate test of a product is to have it perform in your environment: To have it used by drivers who will be driving the trucks permanently and maintained by those who will maintain them in the future. What better test could one possibly want than the fleet of SHACMAN Trucks being used by CHEC, based out of what is literally our back door — they are actually our next door neighbours at Six Miles. I've watched the SHACMAN trucks perform here in Jamaica for close to three years. They have been driven daily in a manner that one would think they've stolen them. They have been seemingly overloaded every single day of life. They've been used on terrain that I personally wouldn't want our personal fleet of trucks traversing, and I'm yet to see one truck broken down on the side of the road. Yet to see one to be hauled by a wrecker or one truck belching black smoke,” he said.

Yan Xie, SHACMAN regional general manager, gave some insight into the attributes noticed by Ralston.

“The factory is 100 per cent State-owned and was originally developed as a military vehicle manufacturer in 1968,” he explained.

Since then, SHACMAN has entered into the commercial market by licensing German and American technology. The 'SHA' stands for the Shaanxi province where the factory is located. 'C' is the Cummins components used in the trucks, and 'MAN' is for the technology from German brand incorporated into the vehicles. Currently they are the top Chinese brand, sold in over 90 countries and produced in excess of 170,000 trucks per year.

Completely satisfied with the original four test vehicles they purchased, Tank-Weld Equipment forged ahead with a deeper relationship from buyer to dealer on the basis that they felt the brand would revolutionise the Jamaica heavy-duty transportation sector.

“Over the years, maintaining the reliability of our fleet of over 120 trucks has become extremely difficult, and sometimes proved almost impossible. With issues of logistics and expense of buying new parts to put on very old trucks, we had no option [but] to think outside the box.”

Only six months in, SHACMAN Jamaica is already four times ahead of their sales quota for the year, a goal Ralston attributes to JN Bank.

“We approached JN Bank to partner with us in this venture and JN instantly saw the opportunity and immediately structured very attractive financing terms, the likes of which small business owners haven't seen in many decades,” he explained.

With loan periods up to seven years, up to 90 per cent financing and single-digit interest rates, JN has wholeheartedly embraced the brand.

“It's a fixed rate of interest in that the payment terms remain for the life of the loan,” Curtis Martin, acting managing director at JN Bank, explained.

Keynote speaker Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, applauded the synergy between all three companies.

“There are many reasons why we'd want to welcome this initiative, because one of the things that is a centrepiece of the conversation that we have to have in our country is the need for us to lift our levels of productivity,” he said in his speech

The minister hopes that those in the commercial transport sector will use the opportunity offered by SHACMAN Jamaica to upgrade or expand their ageing truck fleets for higher levels of efficiency in their businesses.