Business

Jamaica could be losing billions from bad paint jobs

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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Jamaica could be losing $50 billion annually in the destruction of structural assets and other losses from “bad paint jobs”, based on an extrapolation from a study by NACE International aimed at estimating the cost of corrosion at a global level.

Figures extrapolated from the study suggest that costs of corrosion, while challenging to measure, could equate to as much as three per cent of a country's gross domestic product, or more, according to information from B-H Paints.

The company recently held a training seminar, “Protecting Assets in Coastal Environments,” to address concerns in the maintenance industry about how to select and properly apply high-performance coatings (HPCs) to guard against corrosion.

Cost impacts include high maintenance costs, property damage, and business interruptions due to equipment failures and lost production time. These could result from applying low-cost protective coatings to high-value assets, including steel.

The seminar brought together maintenance and building professionals, in conjunction with the Caribbean Maritime University. Together they all share a common concern about the impact of corrosion on structures, as well as the huge financial cost that it can bring.

The recent seminar is part of an aggressive campaign to raise awareness among more industrial and construction companies regarding the HPC solutions and options available to them.

Vice-president of sales and marketing for the Harris Paints Group of Companies Orlando Vazquez explained that with periodic storms, increased temperatures as well as the bodies of water surrounding the Caribbean islands, HPCs provide a highly customisable system, instead of a simple coat of paint, with a wide range of technologies including acrylics, alkyds, solvent and waterborne epoxies, urethanes, among others, offering greater protective efficiencies to users throughout the Caribbean.

“The technology keeps changing, so we are changing with the technology,” he says. “We are confident that HPCs will greatly reduce the corrosive impact of the environment, and will also provide more value from contractors and maintenance engineers to hotels and a wide range of commercial entities.”

Claude Manning, sales manager with responsibility for high-performance coating and trade sales in B-H Jamaica Business Unit, addressed the vulnerability of Jamaica to corrosion because of its location in the Caribbean Sea and its relatively small size.

“The reality is that Jamaica is only about 48 miles at its widest point, and if you think of how far sea air travels inland, you realise that there is no place further than 24 miles from the sea,” he reasons. “So we want persons to focus on the value these kinds of coatings can offer.”

“Aside from buildings, we are building highways and driving pylons into the ground as deep as 20, 30 feet,” he continues. “We really don't want to be digging up those pipes every 15 years to recoat them, so it's best to use a system that can last 30-40 years. NWC has pipes buried underground and Petrojam has tanks right by the sea. We can assess your environment and we want the business community to get accustomed to choosing the coating which best suits their environment, rather than simply going based on what they think can fit the budget.”

The trade channel is one of three divisions in B-H Paints and protective coating accounts for 40 per cent of sales in that channel. The company, however, wants to increase that number and has developed a strategic partnership with global leaders International Paint, a member of the AkzoNobel Group. This year AkzoNobel was recognised as the third-largest paint company with revenue of US$11.5 billion and 46,000 employees.

B-H Paints has been in operation for 57 years, and introduced HPC products 12 years ago. It has continued to introduce new products and incorporate new technology to widen its customer base across the region.

In 2006 B-H Paints was purchased by Harris Paints International Ltd, the largest regional manufacturer and distributor of paint coatings. Harris Paints has 45 years' experience in the Caribbean and distributes to 14 countries across the region.

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