The Texas manufacturer is offering potential customers an alternative to a spate of cooling machines available in the Gulf’s notoriously sweltering environment
Portacool, a US-based manufacturer of portable evaporative cooling products, is optimistic it can capitalise on the Middle East’s sultry climate.
Joel Zarazua, the company’s director of sourcing and supply chain, highlights that Portacool’s innovative coolers suit every need particularly in outdoor areas where traditional air conditioning is impractical or cost prohibitive.
Zarazua also says the company continues to organically grow its business across the region and worldwide.
”The Middle East has seen record high temperatures this summer and this has positively impacted Portacool’s sales figures. According to a Dubai retailer’s consumer sales and rental numbers, Portacool products have had an increase of approximately 11.75 per cent each year for the past three years,” he says.
Headquartered in Centre, Texas, its products provide an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient means of reducing temperatures with applications from industrial to residential. Its evaporative coolers are suitable for fields including agricultural and horticultural, manufacturing, industrial, business, entertainment, sports and residential.
The company has a worldwide full-time staff of 300 and operates in several countries across the Middle East, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. Portacool has had a presence in the Middle East for more than a decade, officially entering the market in 2004. Prior to that, it had a strong foothold there with its evaporative coolers initially brought in to cool the Allied Forces during the Gulf Wars.
Six models of Portacool evaporative coolers are available in the Middle East and they come with fan blades of 16”, 24”, 36” and 48” diameters. The Cyclone series, introduced last year along with JetStream, has turned out to be most popular there for individual/residential use. Another Portacool product, the Hurricane 3600 is said to be most preferred by industries. It features a unique housing design that allows more concentrated air flow and its digital controls include a low water shutoff, timer and temperature sensor.
“The residential products help consumers take their outdoor spaces back from the heat by providing a comfortable environment that can be enjoyed year round. The larger industrial products can reduce heat stress as well as increase employee productivity and morale,” commented Zarazua.
“With the recent focus on sustainable solutions in the construction sector from initial phase to completion of projects, companies in the region are seeing the value of investing in their workforce. Contractors and developers are addressing the issue of heat stress and are moving towards keeping their workers cool, comfortable and in safe working conditions,” he added.
Zarazua sees a tremendous growth opportunity in the Middle East market for Portacool, fuelled by the need for environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient portable evaporative coolers. He adds there is plenty of untapped demand which Portacool is poised to take advantage of.
“Our top three markets in the region are Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait,” he says while listing Bahrain, Oman and Yemen among its key markets.
As he sees it, the region’s frenetic efforts to develop its infrastructure and industries could be good for Portacool.
“The Middle East region will continue to invest in infrastructure development to build airports, hotels and transportation systems to meet the needs of the growing population,” he points out.
“Regardless of uncertainty in the energy sector, key mega projects in the lead-up to Expo 2020 are on track. The drive towards smart cities also calls for a push in promoting public transport, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability while upholding international standards in all business sectors. As a result, the UAE’s construction industry remains robust and continuous, and the demand for Portacool products continues to increase.”
Portacool, through its UPS warehouse facilities, is now able to meet customer demands and provide products, equipment and parts to customers in the Middle East in a timely fashion. The UPS partnership is aligned with Portacool’s global growth strategy and allows it to increase its presence in the global arena with a fair degree of flexibility.
About the company’s global growth strategy, Zarazua says: “We continue to consolidate our distribution operations and align them with our strategic growth plans. At the start of summer this year, Portacool opened a 3,050 sq m warehouse facility in Barcelona to meet rising European demand for our products.
The new facility in Spain provides a strategic link between Portacool’s manufacturing capabilities in the US and customer demand in Europe, providing rapid deployment of cooling solutions to customers across Europe.
“The Middle East holds many opportunities for Portacool and we are actively looking to expand our presence through new distribution channels in areas where we want to bolster our operations to serve our customers.”
As a sign of greater emphasis on supply management and outreach, the company earlier this year opened its North American Distribution Centre outside of Dallas, Texas. The company will also be focusing on developing new product lines until spring 2016.