Bedford knowhow secures a multimillion entry to a new global market
31 Oct 2018
When one of the world’s biggest fertiliser companies turned to Bedford Pumps for help, it opened up a vast opportunity to sell UK expertise in a new market...
As companies go, OCP knows more than a little about market share and national impact. It is one of the world’s largest exporters and manufacturer of phosphate products with a 2015 turnover estimated at $4.5 billion USD.
Overall, phosphates and derivatives comprise a quarter of exports in its home country of Morocco and contribute to an estimated 3.5% of GDP.
Founded in 1920, it started diversifying into fertiliser production in 1987 and 20 years later embarked on a plan to triple its production in the period 2007-2020 with an aim of securing 50% of the world market, fuelled by growing demand among its most populated and fast developing fellow African nations, Nigeria (203 million) and Ethiopia (105 million).
A key part of its fertiliser operation will be its plant located in the port of Jorf Lasfar (‘Yellow Cliffs’) on the Eastern Atlantic, inaugurated recently by the monarch, King Mohammed Vl.
Construction company Sogea-Maroc was seeking suitable pumps that could supply the needs of the substantial site – the world’s largest fertiliser complex – by coping with the impact of highly corrosive sea water.
The result was a ‘landmark’ order with a contract value of nearly £2million – Bedford Pumps’ first for the region
Sogea-Maroc’s original preference was for conventional close-coupled end suction pumps in duplex stainless steel, but a combination of space limitations and a high flow / low head duty made this option untenable.
When the technical specification proved impossible, help was sought from UK-based Bedford Pumps.
Bedford Pumps, which has extensive experience of designing robust and reliable pumping plant for the water, waste water, flood control and dockyard industries, offered an alternative. The company dry well in-line horizontal SB pumps which provided the required duty and also fitted neatly into the allotted space.
The result was a ‘landmark’ order with a contract value of nearly £2million – Bedford Pumps’ first for the region, which plays a considerable role in the global process market.
Bedford’s seven submersible bowl pumps are of nickel aluminium bronze construction including casing, shroud and impeller owing to the corrosive nature of the seawater to be pumped. This solution provides a substantial cost saving to the original specification. Each of the pumpsets is rated at 3,395 l/s at 13m head at a power of 605kW.
For MD Neil Langdon, the project marks a significant step into the firm’s “relatively recent drive into the export market – in particular the Middle East and [also the ] Asia Pacific region where countries like Vietnam have been enjoying 6% compound growth for years".
It’s also a reminder of the need for UK companies to boost their trading potential by seeking opportunities further abroad, he says.
"Many of the world’s most iconic trading places have been built on the back of British entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe it’s time now for British manufacturing to lift a gear and renew some old acquaintances.”