An explosion in tunnel construction in the Gulf, with especially high demand for microtunnelling machines, prompts German TBM manufacturer Herrenknecht to establish a full-service branch in Abu Dhabi.
Herrenknecht supplying 14 machines for STEP project
The new company, Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems LLC offers machine overhauls, field service and supply of spare parts. "The Arab market provides for enormous future potential - this is the reason behind establishing the new service branch for micromachines in Abu Dhabi," explained Ulrich Schaffhaiser, Head of Management at the new facility.
With a number of large drainage schemes either under construction or in the pipeline, opportunities for TBM manufacturers and microtunnelling machine manufacturers and contractors are currently high in the region.
Herrenknecht has supplied 14 machines for the ambitious Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Program (STEP) project in Abu Dhabi, five of them to Italian contractor Impregilo which won two of the three contracts (T-01 and T-02) for construction of 25km x 4m-7m diameter of the main deep tunnel sewer. The rest of the machines delivered by Herrenknecht are supplied to Strabag subsidiary Züblin, which won both the LS-01 and LS-02 contracts to excavate 50km of link tunnels of between 200mm and 3.1m diameter. Excavation of the comprehensive network of link tunnels begins later this month (January 2013) using eight AVNs of 0.96m-3.37m diameter, and an EPBM of 3.37m diameter.
Impregilo is also selected as main contractor for the storm water drainage tunnel in neighbouring Qatar, a project that forms the main element of the Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy (IDRIS). The tunnel will require two TBMs of 4.5m diameter to complete drives totalling 9.5km over the next four years. Additionally the €100 million contract includes excavation of 21 access shafts. Further details on the progress of IDRIS, plus opportunities on other water supply and drainage-related schemes planned in the Middle East, will be available to delegates at the forthcoming WaterWorld Middle East 2013 Conference to be held at the Qatar National Convention Centre February 4-6.
With tunnelling contracts due to be awarded in the next few weeks and months for the first phases of both the Doha metro in Qatar and the Riyadh metro in Saudi Arabia, as well as a pipeline of projects currently in the design phase including transit systems for both Jeddah and Mecca, a Jeddah-Riyadh rail link and a number of other large-scale road and rail projects, the Gulf is an area with good prospects for tunnel-related industries.
"Tunnel construction in the Gulf region is facing dynamic times and we want to offer our customers top services," said Schaffhauser, adding that Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems LLC will mainly focus on overhauling microtunnelling machines in the new Abu Dhabi workshops, and providing spare parts supply and service on the jobsites.
The decision to establish a service centre follows Herrenknecht Group's 2010 decision to found a new company - Commodore Cement Industries LLC - in partnership with local firm Commodore Contracting Company of Abu Dhabi. This means that Herrenknecht now holds a direct interest in a concrete component factory specialising in the manufacture of lining segments and pipe segments for tunnel projects. The factory, which has manufactured 100,000 lining segments for the STEP project's deep level tunnel, is in Abu Dhabi's Al-Mafraq industrial zone.
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