Construction industry filled with potential: Raja Nanayakkara

Friday, 17 January 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

NEM Construction Chairman/Managing Director Raja Nanayakkara is a veteran in the construction industry, having over 35 years of experience under his belt. Having started NEM Construction in 1980, it has since grown to become one of the leading private construction companies in the country. Most recently, NEM Construction renewed a 33 year long association with the pioneer construction equipment supplier in Sri Lanka, United Tractor and Equipment Ltd (UTE) by purchasing a Cat paver from them. “NEM Construction regularly purchases new machinery due to our tight schedules. With more than 800 units of construction machinery and trucks, we have one of the biggest fleets in the country. With tight schedules and large volumes machine uptime is one of the key considerations when we buy new equipment. For example during the 1st month of operation we laid more than 15,000 tons of asphalt using our new Cat paver which is a very satisfactory output,” Nanayakkara said. “We are perhaps the only private construction company which does not hire any machinery, and we even have our own asphalt plants and quarries in Mahiyangana, Pannala and Giriulle giving us an advantage in road projects,” he added. In an in-depth interview, Nanayakkara said that the construction industry was filled with potential for the future. “The Sri Lankan Government plans to develop the country, transforming it into an economic hub.  Good infrastructure, including a solid road network, ports and airports are key to achieving this goal. As such, the construction industry has huge potential, for maybe the next 4 – 5 years,” Nanayakkara said. Challenges in growth Nanayakkara added that as leading industry players it was their duty to equip themselves to meet challenges in growth. “For example we should be geared to share our experience right from the design stage as more often than not the main contractors are from foreign countries who have limited experience in Sri Lankan conditions. We also gain a lot by working with foreign partners as they demonstrate a strong work ethic which is aimed at meeting deadlines and quality standards,” Nanayakkara explained. NEM Construction has also been involved in several high profile infrastructure projects to this end, beginning with the Mahaweli Development Project in the 1980s and including the Biyagama and Sitawaka free trade zones; the company has grown into a leader in the industry. Most recently, the company completed a flagship project as the main subcontractor for the newly completed Colombo-Katunayake expressway. “It is always a pleasure to work with NEM Construction, one of our longest standing customers, in building its company fleet, given their good reputation and their input, which is highly valued within the industry. This is a time of huge potential for the construction industry, and it is an honor to be able to contribute towards important infrastructure projects such as the Colombo-Katunayake expressway, through this valued association,” said General Manager of Machine Sales at UTE, Janak Edirisinghe. Commenting further, Nanayakkara said that the association between the two companies would continue in the future, with NEM Construction involved in several ongoing projects over the next three to four years. These include the Outer-Circular Highway, the Colombo-Kandy expressway and several other mega construction projects. United Tractor & Equipment Ltd (UTE) has been the sole authorised dealer for Caterpillar in Sri Lanka since 1947. Now a diversified group with interests in construction and heavy machinery, power generation and distribution, material handling and storage, welding equipment and engineering services, UTE aims to become the best engineering solutions provider for an array of Sri Lankan industries catering to these markets.