Powering ahead

Rapid Access, the largest and fastest growing supplier of powered access equipment in the Middle East, is confident about its prospects for further growth in Saudi Arabia.

Rapid Access is confident about its prospects for further growth in Saudi Arabia, where it says it is by far the largest and fastest growing supplier of powered access equipment.

The firm has more than 180 units of powered access equipment based in its Jeddah and Dhahran depots. The company opened its first depot in Saudi Arabia, in Dhahran in January 2000 followed by its second in Jeddah in May of that year.

'Further expansion of our fleet in 2004 calls for an additional investment of $5 million bringing the strength of the Saudi fleet to over 220 units,' says Brian Harrigan, manager for Rapid Access - Saudi. 'Plans are also on the anvil to open our Riyadh and Yanbu offices by end of 2004.

Commenting on the company's expansion in the kingdom, Middle East managing director Chris Light says: 'We are willing to consider a substantial investment on our fleet because of the support we have from our clients who have reaffirmed the increased safety and efficiency of powered access and also because of the growing trend in the market to complete quality projects safely and on time.'

'Starting from this year through into 2005 should be an excellent year for Rapid Access in Saudi Arabia. With major construction projects under way in oil and gas and infrastructure for power and water supply and distribution, companies are starting to recognise the safety, time and cost benefits, powered access has to offer. With the support of our existing client base and new clients who are first-time users of access equipment, Rapid Access - Saudi expects to command and set the standards for usage of access systems in the kingdom well into 2006,' says Harrigan.

The company has supplied equipment to major international companies such as Fluor, Aramco, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), Bechtel and Technip. Its list of previous and current projects reads like the 'who's who' of major investment in the kingdom over the past four years and includes: Hawaiyah, Haradh, Berri and Qatif gas plants, PKPE (Petrokemya expansion), JUPC, JUEG (Jubail Ethylene-Glycol) and Qatif GOSP (gas oil separating plant), Yanpet (DBN), and many more notable projects.

Rapid Access' (Middle East) regional head office was established in 1996 in Dubai and since then it has been setting the standard in the field of powered access rental, says Light.

At present, the company holds a fleet of approximately 500 machines across seven depots in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Dhahran, Jeddah and Kuwait. With the improvements of health and safety standards in the region, especially in the construction and oil and gas sectors, Rapid Access has expanded to meet the growing demand for powered access - providing a safe and efficient method to work at height, he says.
'Since we set up base in the region, we have expanded our fleet 10 times with an investment of over $20 million,' says Light. 'And with the company's coverage extending throughout the GCC, we have been able to maintain a high level of unit availability and respond rapidly and efficiently with both equipment and technical support.'

Rapid Access' fleet includes:

  • Self-propelled scissor lifts - 7 to 17 m reach;
  • Self-propelled boom lifts - 11 to 35 m; and
  • Truck-mounted boom lifts - 17 to 72 m.

Rapid Access is the Middle East operation of the UK-based Lavendon Group, which is Europe's largest powered access rental company and is globally the fifth largest. The group is a specialist provider of access equipment throughout Europe and the Middle East with more than 14,000 pieces of equipment and 106 depots in various European countries, trading as Nationwide Access (UK) and Zooom in France, Germany, Spain and Austria.

The group's annual turnover is in excess of $177 million and continues to grow from strength to strength in Europe and the Middle East, says Light.

Rapid Access says it is also the sole Middle East agent for the following leading manufacturers of powered access:
Genie (US) providing access solutions from 5 m electric scissor lifts up to 40 m four-wheel drive heavy-duty diesel self-propelled booms;
Denka Lift (Denmark) which provides electrically-powered indoor equipment that can reach to a height of 30 m and drive through doorways of only 90 cm, whilst weighing only 2.5 tonnes; and GSR truck-mounted boom lifts (Italy) and Skyking Trailers (UK), providing highway access solutions from 15 m up to 27m.

Says Light: 'Rapid Access is able to draw upon the experience gained on major oil and gas projects - in particular their unique needs for safety and testing procedures - after providing access equipment during construction, testing and commissioning of many major projects in the kingdom and throughout the Middle East. With the support and backup of the largest specialist powered access provider in Europe, Rapid Access continues to set the standard for other powered access suppliers in the Middle East market, and is therefore able to set itself apart from any competition it may have.

'As an example of setting standards in Middle East, Rapid Access is the only company outside Europe certified by IPAF (International Power Access Federation). The IPAF certificate authorises us to train operators and users of powered access equipment to comply with the IPAF standard. This, coupled with our rigorous maintenance programme and 24-hour callout service sets Rapid Access as the leader in the market, ensures that our customers get the most reliable machines, when they want them, with the highest standard of training available for their operators.''

Other benefits offered by Rapid Access are:

  • Availability of engineers round-the-clock;
  • All-terrain heavy-duty equipment with specifications adjusted for harsh environments;
  • Indoor battery-powered maintenance equipment for light industrial works, building maintenance and cleaning;
  • Largest fleet of specialist powered access equipment in the Gulf to meet any requirements, including high-volume projects;
  • Equipment which meets ANSI and CE manufacturing and operating standards and is third-party certified for safe working loads and practices; and
  • Standby/replacement equipment available, if needed to cover breakdowns or emergency requirements.

'At Rapid Access, we take safety very seriously and always do our best to provide a safe service to our customers,' Light emphasises. 'All equipment available on hire undergoes a strict inspection programme where any machine that fails the inspection is removed from the hire register until it has been repaired and passes a repeat inspection. Each machine also undergoes a thorough examination by an independent external assessment company at least once every year.'

Rapid Access also offers a free-of-charge formal hand-over or familiarisation service to customers hiring a self-operated machine.
Given its commitment to establishing a strong presence in the region, the firm has established a comprehensive after-sales support with regular preventative maintenance visits by its trained mobile engineers, strong support from its principals and a comprehensive stock of spare parts.

Rapid Access places great importance on recruiting and retaining high-quality personnel and invests heavily in staff training. This ISO-certified company's operating safety standards are dictated by ANSI and it conducts personnel training under endorsement of IPAF, he says.
Its service and preventive maintenance schedule also includes operator training, 24-hour breakdown coverage, routine servicing and maintenance checks, pre-delivery checks, and after-sales support from its locally-based team of engineering and administration staff.

Rapid Access' Saudi team of sales, engineering and administration staff are available with product and maintenance support 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

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