Interview: Paul Kaalen, Director PK Trucks
PKTrucksHolland is a global supplier of brand new heavy duty trucks for the worldwide construction industry. On an area of 25.000 m2 they have a permanent stock of more than 600 trucks - these include but are not limited to concrete mixer trucks, tipper trucks, concrete pumps, tractor heads, chassis cabins, trailers, 4x4’s and other equipment.
What is unique about PK Trucks?
We are the only company in the world that has a permanent stock of over 600 new trucks, 4x4’s and trailers readily available for immediate delivery. Our company is active all over the world and there is not a single country in Africa that we do not do business with. Being strategically located in Moerdijk - which lies in close proximity to the harbours in Rotterdam and Antwerp - enables us to deliver trucks to their final destination in Africa within 10 - 14 days. Moreover, we can offer the full range of trucks needed for the construction world, with any requested superstructure.
What are the differences between the European and the African market?
Due to new emission guidelines introduced by the European Union, all trucks within the EU are now required to be equipped with so-called Euro-6 engines. These engines are more sensitive to fuel quality and have a more complex electronic system, meaning that they are not suitable for use on the African continent. Therefore, PK Trucks only stocks ‘tropicalised’ trucks that fulfil certain export specifications - meaning in our case that they are equipped with Euro-2/Euro-3 engines. These customised trucks are ordered on special request at factories of various well-known European brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Iveco, MAN etc. Based on our experience, these trucks are fully suitable to operate under the rough conditions in Africa.
What has been your experience with doing business with Africans?
So far our experience has been very positive. We learned to adapt to the more informal African way of doing business. One Friday night, for example, whilst enjoying our after work drinks, a new customer came by. He requested several trucks, but left us with nothing more than his hotmail address for the invoice - no business card,no company name, no background information. We were not quite sure what to make of it. But there was no reason for concern. One week later we received the payment and our client turned out to be the owner of one of the largest construction companies in Africa. On another occasion we received an email requesting 200 new trucks - a third of our stock! - for a huge infrastructure project. Sometimes the African dream can come true.
What are your expectations for the African market in the coming years?
Africa is already an enormous market and we expect it to grow even more. Whereas Europe was suffering from the economic crisis of 2008 resulting in a sharp decline in demand, the African market remained largely unaffected and we experienced no drop in sales. Instead, the continent was booming as before. Another trend we observed is that from 2005 onwards new trucks have been increasingly preferred over second hand cars. This is among other things due to higher safety standards. All in all, we are confident that Africa will remain our biggest and most stable trading partner in the coming years.
For more information, please visit: www.pktrucks.com