Fire and ice: GORICA

With new technology and a market primed for the picking, United Arab Emirates-based industry-leading developer and trailer manufacturer, GORICA, is set to further expand its refrigerated transport range to the Kingdom next door where it already holds a market-leading share.

The last 20 years has seen huge advancements within the Middle Eastern refrigerated transport industry, and it has moved leaps and bounds from the era of perishable goods being covered with ice in the back of trucks.

A combination of scorching temperatures and a growing awareness of the importance of safety and hygiene in the cold chain has created an opening in the market that GORICA didn’t ignore, and it has Saudi Arabia firmly in its grip by offering industry leading bodies and trailers for transportation of perishable goods.

The company
Founded in 1990 and based in Dubai, GORICA is owned and chaired by Ivan Fonazaric. It has grown to become a leading developer and manufacture of truck bodies, trailers, semi-trailers and cement mixers in the Middle East and North Africa.

The GORICA Frigo division was founded in 2010 and went through vast expansion in 2013 after setting up a factory in Dubai Industrial City specifically for manufacturing refrigerated truck mounted bodies and semi-trailers.

A pivotal goal was setting up a modern, forward looking and technology-supported manufacturing facility (Factory #4). This factory specialised in the manufacturing of refrigerated semi-trailers, dry box semi-trailers, refrigerated bodies and dry cargo bodies.

For a company that is self-described as being passionate about trailers, refrigeration was a necessary move. Fonazaric has regularly said he has great faith in his team and both the technical and design branches of the businesses, which are always rigorously looking for ways to advance their offerings.

“GORICA’s long-term commitment is to always innovate and bring the most advanced products to the market to deliver greatest competitive advantage to our partners and clients,” he said.

The manufacturing
Long-established in the Middle East as top trailer and semi-trailer builders, GORICA’s foray into refrigeration more than 20 years ago wasn’t a moment too soon.

“There are extremely hot conditions in this region,” said GORICA Group General Manager of Sales and Marketing, Domen Bocker. “Temperatures can reach over 50°C and many transporters have to travel long distance routes.”

GORICA’s Frigo factory in Dubai, is a state-of-the-art facility and it is unique to the Middle East as it is one of the few trailer and body factories that specialise in the manufacturing of products made of glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) alongside typical polyester coated galvanised steel (PPGI).

GFRP is a composite material made of glass fibres embedded in a polymer matrix. Its advantage is that it is lighter, stronger and more corrosion resistant than steel, as well as being easily recycled. It also offers quick reparability of one to two hours, keeping maintenance costs to a minimum.

The market
GORICA sees the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the motor of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with exciting potential and investment opportunities. There are a number of reasons for this, including its Vision 2030 initiative. An economic and social reform blueprint, developed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016, Vision 2030 ‘s purpose was to create a society more in line with modern global trends.

The outcome has been economic growth and outside investment, but also a new focus on a secondary economy beyond oil and gas that is service based and very lucrative – with service-based economies comes the need for transport, specifically refrigeration.

“This new service sector and service sub sector is demanding safe, quality products as knowledge on the importance of health and hygiene broadens,” said Bocker. “Cold chain players are placing a lot more importance on this now, as many companies are still using old, cheap European vehicles, due to lack of regulations.”

GORICA also couldn’t ignore the fact that Saudi Arabia links three different continents and is home to the largest seaport in the Red Sea. A well inter-connected transport system makes it primed to be a leading global logistics hub. The Kingdom also has a gross domestic product equal to the total of all other GCC economies combined, and almost no foreign debt.

Finally, and simply put, there are a lot of people there – 34 million and growing rapidly.

“There has been an influx of a young, educated expat working population which subsequently generates increased demand in perishable goods,” said Bocker.

The offering
When it comes to refrigeration, GORICA’s most popular offering is the 15-metre trailer, which like the other available sizes, is made of one long, seamless GRP panel. By eliminating joints, it has negated thermal bridges, so there is no risk of unforeseen temperature changes. Benefits to using GRP include the fact that it is easily repairable with no need for a complete replacement in the event of damage. It’s also lightweight which results in fuel savings and a reduction in maintenance costs and equipped with industry leading 5 LIP gasket for all the door applications. This positively impacts the temperature recuperation after opening and closing the door and is a unique feature in GORICA’s refrigerated transport solutions.

This range of semi-trailers are relatively flexible with GORICA able to cater for various applications.
“We can provide for the needs of pharmaceutical or vaccination transportation requirements, or offer something completely different,” said Bocker. “Fresh and frozen meat transportation, for example, might require a roof hanging system and that is something we can accommodate.”

Customisation is a common theme with GORICA’s design and manufacturing capabilities, simply because, although they follow European design style and features, it is fully aware that the Middle East and Africa possess very different conditions and needs.

GORICA has expressed its confident in its understanding of the opportunity in this growing market and knowledge of product solutions. Its refrigeration offering, in tandem with its stainless-steel trailers, will target and partner with companies that include perishable food producers and processors, mills and chain markets among others.

While GORICA can’t talk in detail about its specific investments in Saudi Arabia, it does confirm that it is investing in manufacturing and aftersales service infrastructure.

Its goal is to have a substantial number of key clients and partners by demonstrating that it has the product solutions to suit the market’s needs.

As for targets in Saudi Arabia, GORICA has an aim of 50 per cent market share in three years and 70 per cent in five years, a goal the company calls challenging, but realistic.

Glass fibre reinforced polymer
GORICA’s preference for using glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) skin panels, as opposed to metal, in its refrigerated trailer builds is well documented. These are some of the reasons, it says, this material is a must – especially in the Middle East.

  • Completely sealed, a resin-rich gel coat colour moulded on to it, means it never needs painting.
  • Able to withstand any type of corrosive environment including chemicals, saltwater, humidity and acids, removing the need for maintenance.
  • Doesn’t absorb heat, so wall temperatures stay constant.
  • Strength can be customised to meet the requirements of any application.
  • Can be moulded into various shapes and textures at a low cost.
  • Is an environmentally friendly option because of its longevity.

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