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By Moses Akaigwe / 08072100049
Federal Government’s plan of using the automotive policy to enhance local production of vehicles and develop the linkage industries has continued to yield dividends even as the economy battles to get out of recession.
The latest gains of the policy were recorded at ANAMMCO Limited, which recently resumed full production at its plant in Enugu, Enugu State, where it is assembling a range of Shacman trucks for Nigerian roads.
The news has set off a wave of excitement in the automotive industry, prompting analysts to consider the upsurge in production activities a boost to the policy [also called the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP)], which was designed with the major objectives of bringing back automobile assembly, developing local content and deepening technological knowledge.
Presently, no fewer than 50 heavy duty trucks are assembled every week at the plant located at the Emene Industrial Layout, Enugu, following a manufacturing agreement between Transit Support Services Limited (TSS), a subsidiary of ABC Transport, and ANAMMCO, to utilise the assembly facility.
TSS is the official representative of Shacman, a Chinese brand, in Nigeria.
It was learnt that, with the return of increased production at the plant, most of the technical staff who were kept on standby while skeletal operation lasted have since been recalled, even as a number of the local content suppliers have been engaged to provide some of the components and accessories.
This was confirmed by the Managing Director of TSS, Mr. Frank Nneji, who also disclosed that many truck buyers, especially big corporate users like construction companies, haulage and logistics firms and cement manufacturers, have realised that Shacman has an edge over competitors in terms of price-quality comparison.
“Shacman is the best truck brand from the Chinese auto industry,” he said, “That is why many of the companies that used the trucks and trailer heads are coming back to us with large orders, with the result that the ANAMMCO plant is burstling again.”
Nneji described Shacman trucks as very strong and dependable vehicles, disclosing that the technology was originally MAN Diesel: “I have always made it clear that Shacman is a Chinese brand with European DNA.”
With an installed capacity of about 7,500 trucks per annum (in a single shift) at the time of the inauguartion of the plant in 1980, ANAMMCO dominated the truck and bus market for many years until an interplay of unfavourable factors led to a dip in its fortunes, and subsequent privatisation in 2007.
However, as the automotive policy formally took effect on July 1, 2014, having been approved the year before by the Federal Executive Council, industry watchers were optimistic that it would not take long before normal production would return to ANAMMCO.
It was, therefore, no surprise that, encouraged by the policy, TSS commenced the production of Shacman at ANAMMCO, leading to the roll-out of the first batch of the heavy duty trucks and trailer heads in 2014.
It was learnt that the volume of production had continued to rise gradually till a few months ago when orders for hundreds of Shacman trucks were placed by a couple of big corporate customers that opted for Shacman after a comparative analysis of various products from competing brands.
A team of visiting journalists observed recently that hundreds of the trucks were being branded at ANAMMCO premises, with some of them bearing the name and logo of the Dangote Group.
A part of the Shaanxi Automobile Group Co. Ltd, China, which has over 45 years of manufacturing experience and remains one of the leading automobile manufacturers in China, Shacman has in the past four decades evolved into one of China’s domestic large-scale automobile enterprise groups, with over 33,000 employees.
It is ranked number 24 among China’s top 500 mechanical enterprises. Shacman also engages mainly in development, manufacture and sale of off-road vehicles, heavy duty trucks, medium duty, large and medium-sized coaches, medium and light-duty trucks, minivans, new energy vehicles, heavy duty axles, light axles, Cummins engines and automobile components.