CHINA’S THIRD-LARGEST truck manufacturer, state-owned Sinotruk, has entered the Jamaican market, in partnership with Tools Hardware & Equipment Limited.
The exclusive dealership is to open officially in May, says head of Tools Hardware Jalil Dabdoub, but is already selling units.
Through its trucking division, Tools Hardware is setting up an 18-bay service centre at the former KIW complex in Kingston and will be expanding that to 36 bays over the next two years.
Dabdoub says 26 Sinotruks have already been consigned to a company in the mining industry, 22 have otherwise been sold, and more are on order for delivery in April.
“Years ago, I, along with other family businesses had a fleet of vehicles, and we thought that if we’re going to be doing servicing, and so on, why not get one brand. The Dong Feng trucks that we got did not help at all, to say the least. We did our research and settled on Sinotruk,” he told the F inancial Gleaner.
“We have a very good partnership with Sinotruk, they’ve extended credit to us and they are giving the necessary technical support,” he said.
Tools Hardware & Equipment, two years ago, purchased the KIW complex at 138-148 Spanish Town Road, Kingston, from Jamaican Teas Limited. The latter company came into ownership of the commercial complex on its acquisition of KIW International from the Jamaican Government for $57 million. KIW, which was formed in 1908, acted mostly as a support service to the sugar industry.
Dabdoub says Tools invested its own funds in upgrading the complex and is looking towards a medium-term horizon for payback on the trucking venture.
“We’re still doing the numbers, but at this time I can tell you that we’ve spent over $200 million,” he said.
The trucks viewed by the Financial Gleaner at the KIW complex were priced within a range of $4.75 million and $5.85 million, depending on tonnage. There was also a fully equipped garbage compactor that carries a crew of five, costing about US$92,000. Comparable units in Jamaica’s waste management system cost US$130,000, according to Dabdoub.
Other truck brands of comparative size are selling within a range of $5.5 million to $12 million.
“Our idea is that at least for the first year, we will be beating everybody on price. We’re not here to take any market share from anybody since there is room for everyone, especially when operators are out there looking for performance, reliability, and value for money,” Dabdoub said.
Aside from trucks, Tools Hardware also distributes CHL forklifts. Dabdoub says he has been using the forklifts made by Anhui Heli Company out of China for the past five years, but secured the exclusive dealership in May 2019.