Opportunities in the tough market scenario prevalent in the UAE retread sector are not easy to come by. However, sensing an opportunity in the supply of hot rubber, Tolins has promptly grabbed it and now has a neat production operation in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah bordering Oman, about 140 km from Dubai.
Tolins Opens Ras Al Khaimah Plant
The Kerala headquartered tread rubber producer expanded into tyre production in India a few years back and completed a 10,000 sq metre factory-cum-warehouse in 2015. The site began by making bonding gum and vulcanising solutions but later expanded by adding camelback and rubber strip production. “The Ras Al Khaimah site operates as our base to serve the markets of UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, selling all our products including tyres,” informed Thomas Joseph, Regional Manager, Tolins Tyres LLC.
Precure tread rubber and raw material for the production of camelback comes from India, but the plant carries out mixing and extrusion for the local market.
It has been observed that the permanent manufacturing base in the UAE has helped Tolins to establish its presence in the precure and camelback supplies. Now almost every retread site in the UAE is sourcing at least some product from Tolins. The company’s production comes in handy especially when there is a shortage of tread, as Tolins is the only manufacturer producing in the UAE, and most of the industry is based on Indian rubber imports.
With the surge in camelback demand, production of hot rubber is increasing. “We are producing about 360 tonnes of camelback and growing at about 10% annually,” admitted Thomas Joseph.
But if production of camelback increasing, demand for precure tread is going down. “Sales of precure tread has dropped by half to about 480 tons,” he added. “Demand for precure rubber has dropped after the authorities started penalising fleets operating on precured retreads.
Tolins supplies about 40 tons of precured tread each month in the UAE market besides some quantity to two sites based in Bahrain. Demand for bonding gum has also reduced to 15-20 tons from 30-35 tons per month about three years ago.
On opening new markets in the Middle East, Thomas revealed, “We will start hot rubber supplies to a new site coming up in the Lebanese capital Beirut from February onwards. It takes almost 50 days to supply from the Indian plant, so the Ras Al Khaimah plant caters to the Lebanese market.”
It seems the UAE plant will also expand its presence in the neighboring Saudi market in the days to come as it is another big retread market where demand for hot rubber is firming up.
The UAE site also operates as Tolins’ warehouse for supplying LCV, two-wheeler and agriculture tyres to African markets like Congo, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Mozambique.