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Growth & Jobs | From poverty to prosperity - Shaw says availability of new trucks will impact production positively

Published:Tuesday | July 30, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Minister of Investment, Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw has said that the availability of new trucks and the accessibility of parts will have a positive impact on productivity.

Shaw was speaking at an event to celebrate the first anniversary of SHACMAN heavy-duty trucks in Jamaica and to introduce Tank-Weld’s new brand of trucks and equipment to the market. The event was held on Olivier Road in St Andrew.

SHACMAN’s operations were enabled by a partnership with Tank-Weld Equipment, which is the dealer of SHACMAN trucks in Jamaica, and the truck purchases are financed by JN Bank.

“Part of our problem in Jamaica is that for too long, people who are in business, trying their best, have been affected by bad government policies. You have had to pay high interest rates to borrow anything. In one period in our economy, you had to pay 50 and 60 per cent interest rate to buy a truck, even if it’s an old truck you buy,” Shaw said, applauding JN Bank for offering rates below 10 per cent, with up to seven years for owners to repay.

He stated that Jamaica cannot prosper if it does not become more productive and pointed out that Tank-Weld’s move to enable manufacturers to access equipment at reasonable costs – and loans to purchase them at an affordable interest rate – would serve the purposes of the productive sector while boosting the economy.

“It’s a range of trucks and a range of equipment, which can help us to move from poverty to prosperity,” Shaw said, urging patrons and the nation to adopt the slogan used by his party during the 2016 general election.

“As a matter of fact, can I suggest to you that [the] PNP had a slogan saying, ‘Don’t Stop the Progress.’ Make us accept that, too …,” he would later urge them. “Make us move ‘from poverty to prosperity’, and make us say ‘ don’t stop the progress’,” the minister quipped.

Also addressing the function, Ryan Parkes, chief, business banking, JN Bank, noted that Tank-Weld’s sale of 400 trucks, well above the 50 it projected it would sell in its first year, may have likely contributed to the improvements in the construction, mining, and quarrying sectors as well as the wholesale and retail sectors.

Each of the sectors, he pointed out, grew by 3.4 per cent, 11.1 and 1.7 per cent, respectively, during the quarter ending in March 2019.

“All of these sectors rely heavily on transportation to move raw material and heavy equipment, and I know that several of the trucks sold in your first year of business went to these sectors to run operations smoothly,” Parkes said.

John Ralston, managing director of Tank-Weld, confirmed that through the introduction of the SHACMAN trucks and the financing available to them through JN Bank, the company has been able to assist in the development of several small contractors.

“Whereas you could borrow money to purchase a BMW or a Benz, nowadays, it is so easy to borrow money for a commercial vehicle, so we are now developing small contractors. They own their own trucks, and they are now becoming their own contractors, therefore, we are setting up small businesses all over the country,” he said, thanking JN Bank.

He also noted that Tank-Weld has been receiving requests from companies to address other logistical issues that they are facing, hence its reason for introducing other lines of trucks under the T-King and Hangcha brands as well as the Shantui earth-moving equipment, which JN Bank will also be financing.

“We are not going to stop there. We believe there are other lines [of equipment] that we can [use] to help our customers to solve their logistical problems, and we will continue to go in that direction,” Ralston said.

Yan Xie, general manager for SHACMAN’s American department, commented that the partnership with Tank-Weld and JN Bank has been efficient and has added to the company’s performance in the region.

“The whole system is working extraordinarily. However, we couldn’t make ourselves satisfied because we know that there is still a long way to go … ,” he said, adding his gratitude to the Tank-Weld team and customers for their confidence in the brand.