UAE Focus

Volvo machinery ... key role in runway project.

Volvo machinery ... key role in runway project.

Volvos help military runway take flight

February 2016

Volvo construction equipment and trucks have played a key role in fast-tracking the construction of a major military runway project in the UAE.

With the help of a fleet of 21 machines from Volvo Construction Equipment and 20 vehicles from Volvo Trucks, UAE contractor National Gulf Constructions successfully completed the construction of a runway, aircraft parking apron and taxiways for a military air training college in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi’s second largest city near the border with Oman.

National Gulf Constructions is known for its work on the 240-km Abu Dhabi-to-Ruwais highway in the UAE, and is the first contractor to establish quarry operations within the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia.

Phase One, which was completed in a year, involved moving a colossal 9 million cu m of earth and aggregates to prepare the site before laying the 800-m-long and 600-m-wide apron with an additional 400 m by 250 m aircraft parking area.

The 1-km-long runway was also a massive feat of earthmoving and, in some places the ground level was raised by 45 m and built up in successive compacted layers of 300 mm.

Commenting on the challenges in executing the project, Maher Ali, chairman of the National Gulf Group, said: “For security reasons we were allowed access to the site for just eight hours a day, and not at all on Fridays and Saturdays.”

“Ordinarily, this would have made the 12-month deadline impossible – our competitors were quoting two years to do the job. But we managed it by working throughout the night outside of the camp, transporting the fill and other materials right up to the perimeter, then bringing it onsite at 7.30 the next morning,” he explained.

Not only has the runway been built at top speed, it has also been built to an impeccably high quality standard, with the pavement even meeting European road transport specifications, said the contractor, which has given the client a 10-year performance warranty, but expects it to last five times as long.

National Gulf Constructions said top quality equipment has played an important part in the successful completion of this time-sensitive project. A fleet of 21 Volvo Construction Equipment machines, including five wheel loaders (L150, L180), two excavators (EC700, EC480), four motor graders, two pavers (ABG7820) and five soil and asphalt compactors (SD110, DD25, DD100 and PT240R), shouldered much of the burden, it said.

The company also bought 20 FH440 trucks from sister company Volvo Trucks.

“We don’t buy used machines, nor equipment from brands that aren’t well supported,” Maher said.

“Finishing projects on time is crucial, and thus production equipment needs to keep producing reliably. The best people and brand we work with is Volvo. All our new Volvos come with customer support agreements and our local dealer Famco provides excellent support, even on small issues, which is appreciated.

“Low fuel consumption is also essential, and helps in giving us an edge when tendering. Fuel consumption varies so much between brands, but with Volvo we feel that we are buying from the most efficient manufacturer. Their dealer trains our mechanics and instructs operators on how to work at high levels of productivity and efficiency.

“We like to treat our machines like family, and it is in our best interest to do so,” Maher concluded.

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