BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

The buoyant construction sector in Nigeria has helped sales of generators rebound – but it is placing greater demand for consistent aftermarket servicing to ensure projects stay on track

  • – Daniel Roudaut, Nigeria National Sales Manager.

Investment in construction projects in Nigeria is driving strong demand for power systems and equipment – with sales of generators now back to levels previously seen before the start of the pandemic and expected to rise further over the next two years.

Nigeria’s construction industry is expected to grow by 5.7% in 2022, picking up from a growth of 3.1% in 2021. This activity is supported by significant investments in infrastructure to support the country’s growing population, fast industrialization and urbanization. 

For example, in transportation, the Lekki deep seaport near Lagos is currently being constructed and will handle up to 14,500 containers. Meanwhile, aviation is being expanded through the development of four international terminals – Port-Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja and Kano. In railways, meanwhile, the 157 km, $1.5 billion Lagos – Ibadan project has been opened, and other investments are in the pipeline.

In the built environment, the sprawling Eko Atlantic development will result in a new city-state being constructed on reclaimed land in Lagos. Upon completion, the peninsula will house around a quarter of a million residents, with a further 150,000 daily commuters. 

Much of this activity is being undertaken through private partnership initiatives. But the federal government has also unveiled its ambitious National Development Plan 2021-2025, which has provided a formalized commitment to building many new roads, houses, and industrial facilities over the medium-term.

Increased demand for generators

Nigeria, as a country, is a large geographic landmass covering an area of almost one million square kilometres and has many sparsely populated rural regions. As a result, large construction projects in areas like transportation can often occur in or across far-flung areas where there is no reliable and resilient access to the electricity grid. 

Generators, therefore, provide a tried-and-trusted source of electricity to power a broad range of machinery and equipment found on construction sites. They are powerful, yet portable, and can run for extended periods under weather extremes such as high temperatures or heavy rain, allowing building work to take place across the day.

In Nigeria, generator sales have risen steadily in recent months, with the buoyant construction sector adding to demand. According to market research specialists P&S Intelligence, Nigeria’s genset market value will grow from $445 million in 2021 to $806 million by 2030, covering a broad band of power nodes from 20 – 3,000 kVA.

Generators for all construction activities

So, how will generator suppliers meet this demand in Nigeria? And how will they ensure that machines on the ground are supported with the highest standards of after-market care – ensuring that hard-pressed construction organizations keep their projects on time and budget?

The answer comes with having a product range for all eventualities, backed up distribution and aftermarket services to all major regions. In terms outputs, construction sites typically deploy 9 – 1,000kVA generators, powering tools such as saws, mixers, cutters, air compressors and welders. These rugged and highly-mobile generators are often configured with mechanical fuel injection engines, providing well-founded architectures and good available of quality parts. 

But for bigger and more complex construction environments, there is a demand for state-of-the-art generators with optimal power-to-size ratio and high cooling capacity to give controlled sound and emissions levels. These next-generation machines provide the highest levels of resilience and can handle load impacts while preserving the quality of electricity produced in terms of frequency and voltage. They are often highly customized with bespoke canopies that allow them to be meet specific requirements, such as the need for reduced footprints on construction sites found in many built-up metropolitan areas.

Recently, Kohler has established a new generator assembly facility in Lagos. This plant will supply off-the-shelf and custom-built machines to the Nigerian market, covering a full range of power nodes.

Delivering reliable power to site

But offering a quality product is only part of the jigsaw when servicing a market as geographically large and diverse as Nigeria. With some construction sites located far away from major conurbations, generator manufacturers also need to oversee an effective distribution network to get equipment where it is needed. Kohler meets this requirement through an extensive distribution network, providing excellent availability of products across regions, often on short lead times.

Distributors also provide after-market support, often ensuring same-day resolution of any maintenance issues, supported by immediate access to genuine parts such as oil and fuel filters. This after-market support is crucial in construction, where time is money. A lack of electrical power supply can significantly impact activities across a building site, so a fast response to breakdown is essential.

Kohler has invested heavily in its distribution network and supports it in several ways. Kohler only accesses the Nigerian market through distributors – unless the order size is so large that it must be met directly. The Kohler product range provides distributors with a solution for every application, no matter the power node. This is supported by access to technical marketing material that explains product capability.

Annual dealer meetings are held for networking purposes and the facilitation of best practices among channel partners serving the construction sector. Business relationships are also meaningful, with Kohler’s sales team in Nigeria encouraged to maintain regular face-to-face meetings with distributors to ensure the smooth running of daily operations. Incentive programs are also being introduced to boost dealer performance, while leadership and support are available from Kohler’s global sales and marketing team colleagues.

Meeting the needs of construction companies

Nigeria is seeing a transformation of its infrastructure, leading to a boom in the construction industry. That infrastructure investment will likely remain on an upward curve over the medium term as public and private projects come online. Therefore, the construction industry will continue to depend on reliable and resilient access to electrical power – often provided by generators. 

Kohler is committed to supporting that requirement, as seen with investment in the Lagos assembly plant. The company has the people, products and processes to ensure that construction companies get the highest quality machines backed by the best possible service – allowing Nigeria to build for the future.

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