Considered expansion

For the last three years, European managed company Diesel Power International has been operating out of Dubai offering specialised activities in the service, overhaul, repair, and supply of spare parts for Caterpillar marine engines and generators. Given this location, many of its customers are based in the local region, or are European ship-owners with vessels operating in the Middle Eastern waters. The company is also a service agent for HSH Holland precision level gauges, Victron Energy marine systems and Yellow Power International.

However this relationship with Caterpillar extends beyond the lifetime of Diesel Power International itself, with company founder and managing director Hans Verspoor having worked with them for the last 12 years. Prior to this, Hans was engaged as a chief engineer in his own right – experience that has proved crucial in creating the service Diesel Power International is now known for: “Being from Europe, we have a somewhat different opinion about service compared to many locally-based companies,” he begins. “In particular we understand the nuances of the shipping business, and that clients cannot afford costly downtime of vessels. Therefore we do not just operate between a set number of hours – we fit our working day around the customers requirements even if this means working at weekends, nights, or two shifts back-to-back. This is our biggest ambition to provide the customer with a high standard of quality and service.”

Within this, Diesel Power International’s niche comes not only from its specialist nature, but also the fact that it was actually trained by Caterpillar. “In much the same way as in the automotive industry, new vessel engines are all electronically controlled,” explains Hans. “Whilst the locally based companies can in general carry out mechanical work on these engines, when it comes to troubleshooting failures within the electronic parts they either don’t have the correct software or the expertise to find a solution. In this respect, we are very well equipped with all of the necessary software to deal with all kinds of Caterpillar electronics as well.”

Certainly this appears to have been key to the rapid expansion of Diesel Power International, which has seen it grow from just Hans himself to a team of six engineers as well as other staff, with further recruitment still ongoing. This has been supported by a recent move to a new office space complete with in-house workshop.

“We offer a complete package to our customers – from initial troubleshooting and advice through to the repair and overhaul of the engines as required. In order to maintain a relatively short overhaul turn-around we keep many of the parts for marine engines on stock. Whilst our main focus is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the surrounding area we also do worldwide commissioning and overhauls of Caterpillar engines and generators. Currently we are working on projects in Singapore and Gambia, including a contract at the presidential palace for the President of Gambia, and commissioning a new power plant with Caterpillar generators. We are also active on the Ivory Coast, Angola and even Europe,” highlights Hans.

All of these activities are co-ordinated through Diesel Power International’s Dubai office – a region that in itself is seeing substantial growth driven by the burgeoning oil and gas sector. In order to take full advantage of such opportunities, Diesel Power International has recently completed registration for an Abu Dhabi licence that will enable the business to tap into new clients and projects.

“There is a government regulation which requires any company working within the oil field and offshore projects of Abu Dhabi to obtain a registered licence.

“Therefore we have made an application under the name Diesel Power International Marine Services LLC, which will see the company comply with this stipulation. This will open up a whole new market for us in terms of accessing the up coming offshore projects within Abu Dhabi where there is still a lot of investment in new oil rigs and vessels,” elaborates Hans. As a business that deals in both Caterpillar engines for vessels, and Caterpillar generators, which can be employed on oil rigs, this offers double the potential.

In fact, the only prospective barrier to the continued rapid expansion of Diesel Power International is being able to secure sufficient skilled diesel engineers and other manpower.

It is a similar case throughout the marine market, and one that Diesel Power International is addressing by undertaking in-house training of those candidates with a basic grounding in the engine trade.

Although Diesel Power International’s attention is primarily centred on maintaining its high service benchmarks, the company is also in the first stages of considered expansion. Whilst this is unlikely to come to fruition before summer 2012 at the earliest, it would see the business position a new office presence outside of the UAE, enabling it to take greater advantage of some of the most rapidly growing global markets.

Specialists in Caterpillar Marine engines and generators
Offers a complete package from commissioning to repair and annual maintenance contracts
Recently gained Abu Dhabi licence