Hard Work Pays Off: Contract for Dijkstaal in Guinea
After nearly a decade of negotiations and numerous visits to Conakry, a deal was signed to supply 5 bridges to Guinea. NABC member Dijkstaal International B.V. designs and supplies the bridges and has played a leading role in acquiring the mega-project.
Joris van Dijk, Managing Director and the great great grandson of the founder of the family-owned company, has a reason to smile. Looking back at all the efforts the entrepreneur spent on getting the so-called ‘Five Bridges Project’ in Conakry off the ground, he calls it ‘nearly a miracle’ that the project will finally be carried out.
“Over the past years we have been working with 3 different ministers who were responsible for infrastructure in Guinea-Conakry. We also had the Covid-19 pandemic and at one point the country was shaken by a coup d’état. We nevertheless stayed optimistic and kept working hard on all the paperwork required. This included amongst others studies about the environmental impact of the bridges. Once all of that was complete, the agreement between the Netherlands and Guinea-Conakry was signed,” Mr. Van Dijk explained.
About Dijkstaal International B.V.
Dijkstaal was founded nearly 150 years ago in 1878 and initially fabricated iron and steel products for the Dutch market. “My father, the previous Managing Director started
looking for assignments internationally,” Mr. Van Dijk said. “Despite getting awarded plenty of projects in the Netherlands, we aim to be active internationally. We make high-quality products that still prove their value and competitiveness on the international market.” The bridges are fabricated in their factory in Maassluis, close to Rotterdam, as ‘building kits’ to be shipped in containers together with detailed assembly instructions. For these kind of complex projects, a supervisor is sent to the recipient country to oversee the erection, launching and building of the steel superstructure of the bridge.
Dijkstaal Bridges on the African Continent
Dijkstaal’s bridges on the African continent can already be found in Kenya, Liberia, Ghana and the DRC. “We prefer to work as subcontractor for international active construction companies,” the Managing Director explained. “We also do that in Guinea, where Ballast Nedam has become the main EPC contractor. EPC stands for Engineering, Procurement and Construction. Ballast Nedam will also be erecting the bridges, executing the required civil works and constructing 11 kilometres of approach roads.” The Five Bridges Project, with a total value of euro 60 million, has been financed by NABC’s strategic partner Invest International under the DRIVE programme: half of the funding is a grant, while the other half is structured as a loan. Atradius DSB has covered the entire transaction.
For Dijkstaal, a SME that employs 25 people including Van Dijk and one of his two sisters, the Five Bridges Project can be a game changer. “It has cost us a lot of time and money to develop this project and if something had gone wrong we would have lost all of that.
Now that we successfully managed to get this project off the ground, I see opportunities for more of such larger assignments in the future.” The entrepreneur is convinced that there is much more ahead for the company. “In just a few years time we’ll celebrate the 150th anniversary of our company. Despite that long history, we still feel very young and we are ready to grow internationally.”
Find more information on Dijkstaal by visiting www.dijkstaal.com