VICTOR NEMUKULA Durban's abundance of human capital and big industrial equipment users makes it an ideal place to operate in
Despite the challenging business landscape, industrial and construction equipment supplier Shumani Industrial Equipment regards Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal, as a city with opportunities for businesses to grow.
The Johannesburg-based company has enjoyed a growing market, which is expected to continue developing, in Durban, for the past two years.
Owing to Shumani’s business evolving to offering port equipment, the Durban is an ideal location for a regional office.
“Durban has the biggest port in Africa. It also has an abundance of human capital and big industrial equipment users, which makes the city an ideal place in which to operate,” says Shumani MD Victor Nemukula.
He explains that operating from Johannesburg, with a limited footprint in Durban, makes operations and dealing with customers in the latter city challenging.
Having a regional office will enable Shumani to have a footprint in the area while ensuring that customers have access to highly skilled personnel.
Shumani is providing port equipment for State-owned rail, port and pipeline company Transnet Freight Rail, and Transnet Port Operations in Durban.
Nemukula says providing a service to the Transnet group has been good for Shumani, as it prepared the company for offering a comprehensive service in the Durban market.
He adds that Transnet operates in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act which requires competitive bidding for all procurement. As a result, Transnet issues a request for quotation for short-term equipment rentals in order to do business. Therefore Shumani is required to submit a bid with every request for quotation, even if the company has been awarded the rental previously.
This process creates uncertainty, as Shumani can plan for only a limited period of time, provided it wins the bid. Therefore, the company has to pursue business in the private sector to ensure that it earns revenue by working with private-sector customers.
While the past 12 months have been challenging for Shumani, it has shown significant growth while keeping its existing customer base.
“We were also able to diversify the business into becoming a significant player in the provision of port equipment to [the] public and private sectors. We’ve also been able to make inroads into the construction sector with our equipment,” Nemukula concludes.