Building the Bridges that Transport DemandsTue, 11/01/2016 - 13:57
Q: What impact have changing regulations and standards had on the bridge business?
A: Today’s market demands reliable and cost-effective solutions that are resistant to constant shifts in transportation weights. The transportation of cargo requires a design that is far more robust and providers must have the ability to work in a timely manner. Mabey Bridge has adapted its products to the specific needs of the Mexican market. We promote work conducted with federal road authorities on the development of specifications for steel bridge superstructures.
The Mexican Public Works Act stipulates domestic content as a percentage of project value. The design of our modular bridges, combined with the cutting-edge technology used to manufacture them, gives us the confidence to meet this requirement. Due to the increased importation of steel and recent changes in dumping practices, the Mexican steel industry has pushed for the implementation of new tariffs. These tariffs were developed as a form of protection from steel coming mainly from China. This excludes steel that comes from countries that are part of Mexico's free trade agreement. Mabey Bridge imports its steel from within the European Union making these tariffs inapplicable to us.
Q: How does the company ensure its products meet transportation demands?
A: Mabey Bridge optimized its designs and today offers a variety of options that incorporate the original modular essence but meet the needs of our clients with greater efficiency. It is vital that we maintain the quality of our products because we want to cover the largest cargo weights and farthest distances possible while minimizing the number of intermediaries.
One of our competitive advantages is that we can easily transport our solutions because they are modular and can be assembled at the site in a short amount of time. Bridges arrive in standard size containers at the job sites and do not require specialized assembly equipment or labor. All of our solutions are manufactured in the UK and are then exported to over 140 countries. Delivery costs remain low for Mexico and we continue to seek local alliances to develop formal distribution channels in the country. This will help us keep stock and improve our response rate.
Q: What changes does Mabey Bridge make to adapt its products to fit an ever-evolving market?
A: In terms of technology and innovation, manufacturing processes are the most important for continued development. During the design process, we consider the effects of a range of temperatures from -20 to +60 degrees Celsius and from there we adapt the bridge depending on the requirement. When choosing materials for our bridges, the carriageway surface is one of the most important considerations. For provisional and emergency applications, the surface is made of steel decks with stamped corrugations. For permanent bridges, the steel deck surface is covered with a proprietary mix of polyurethane and crushed bauxite to give it a grainy texture and more strength.
Q: How do modular bridges benefit communities that are affected by natural disasters?
A: In 2013, Mexico was hit by two tropical storms that demolished more than 300 bridges. Mabey Bridge has developed a close relationship with the Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) throughout the years, which now has a detailed inventory of our emergency bridging solutions so that in the case of an emergency it can reconnect areas and resources in a matter of hours.
Our bridges connect communities, allow the transportation of rescue supplies and improve quality of life for communities that have been affected by these natural disasters. Mexico has a long way to go in terms of fulfilling the needs of rural communities, and even though these communities are located in remote areas, the fact that our bridges are so easy to adapt and install has a substantial impact on their quality of life.