Canadian equipment leader EPIQ Machinery is setting its sights on the Middle East and has chosen Bahrain as the central hub for its ambitious plan.

The company’s chief operating officer Naji Elabiad and Middle East and North Africa (Mena) regional director Vivek Kumar revealed the company’s decision to establish Bahrain as the central hub for their Middle East development and expansion plans.

“Bahrain is the country that emerged as the birthplace of the first primary aluminium production site in the Mena region. Pioneer and leader: two characteristics recognised by EPIQ that, coupled with our existing positive relationships, made it the best strategic location in our opinion,” said Mr Elabiad.

However, the benefits extended beyond the initial project.

“We realised we could serve other smelters in the region efficiently from the same base, being close and present for any upcoming expansion and major challenging retrofitting plans,” he added.

The Bahrain-based team will provide effective technical solutions in addition to sales and after-sales support to guarantee client satisfaction. EPIQ sees immense potential in the burgeoning Middle Eastern aluminium market, particularly with the industry’s growing focus on sustainability.

“Aluminium smelters are harmonising with UN sustainability goals as well as national environmental charters,” Mr Elabiad explained. “Substitution of fossil fuel driven vehicles by electric options are the key strategy, and also encouraging use of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) within smelters.”

Mr Elabiad highlighted Bahrain’s economic attractiveness.

“The cost of business execution in Bahrain is significantly lower compared to other GCC countries due to its geographical location and availability of material and manpower resources. Additionally, Bahrain’s streamlined process for foreign investors made establishing a presence here very smooth,” he said.

He also noted the potential to leverage EPIQ’s expertise beyond aluminium. “We have a division specialising in non-ferrous metals like copper and zinc as well as into paper and pulp business,” he explained, adding that although this market is comparatively smaller in the GCC, there’s ‘significant potential in North Africa’.

EPIQ’s approach emphasises a global network with localised support. “We have manufacturing facilities worldwide, with final assembly happening near to the customer,” Mr Kumar added.

“This ensures optimal efficiency and faster delivery times with consistent client presence.”

Mr Kumar emphasised EPIQ’s commitment to innovation and customisation. “We differentiate ourselves by offering custom-engineered solutions and training local personnel to become specialised on our products,” he said.

This includes establishing a team of professionally skilled experts for crucial equipment like anode slot-cutting machines, anode handling and management system as well as pot-ramming machine and cast house solutions.

Safety is paramount for EPIQ. “We invest heavily in developing tools and systems that minimise operator risk,” Mr Elabiad stated. “Our products are designed not just for efficiency but also very well concentrate into operator safety.”

The company is also committed to sustainability. “We’re actively developing solutions like electric vehicles and automated robots,” Mr Elabiad revealed. “Furthermore, we dedicate a significant portion of our revenue to R&D focused on connectivity, IoT 4.0, and artificial intelligence.”

EPIQ plans to expand its Bahrain presence significantly. “We anticipate having 40-60 employees here within a year, potentially reaching 150 in the long run,” Mr Kumar outlined. “We’re partnering with Tamkeen to create a skilled local workforce through training programmes and international exposure.”

The focus extends beyond simply supplying equipment. “We want to become a long-term partner for our clients,” he emphasised. “By being located here, we can offer ongoing support, show up for any on call site emergencies, ensure optimal equipment performance, and provide rapid access to spare parts.”

Mr Elabiad concluded by highlighting the strategic advantage of Bahrain’s location. “The excellent connectivity makes it an ideal base for serving the entire Mena region. We’re confident that Bahrain is the perfect springboard for our continued growth and success in the region,” he said.

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