A diverse fleet of Hitachi excavators is being utilized by Razel-Bec on a 90.5km canalization project in Senegal,West Africa. The French company is benefitting from the reliability of the machines in a country known for its tropical climate and testing terrain.

With over 60 years of construction, civil engineering and land reclamation experience on the continent, Razel employs 1,500 people in a variety of countries, such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Benin. It has deployed around 500 employees to a site on the Senegal River Delta with the key task of increasing rice- growing opportunities in the area.

To achieve this, Razel is leading a project — in partnership with Sogea Satom — to excavate new canals and rehabilitate existing ones. The demanding project involves the movement of five million cubic metres of earth to ensure that a main 40km canal is capable of taking dirty water away from the delta to the Atlantic Ocean.

Due to the challenging environment, Razel chose a wide range

of standard, super long front and amphibious Hitachi excavators to complete the assignment, including three ZX240LC-3s and two ZX280LC-5s. It is also making use of a ZW310 wheel loader. These have been supplied by local Hitachi dealer DEM Senegal, part of the DEM Group.

“All of our Hitachi Zaxis excavators have extra-wide tracks, because the ground is so soft that the tracks would sink into the ground and the condition of the track chains could deteriorate as a result,” explains Kristen Petillon, Razel’s Fleet Equipment Manager. “The 800mm and 900mm tracks are an efficient solution to reduce the ground pressure and ensure that the machines don’t get stuck.”

In addition to the logistical effort required to ensure the machines are maintained and fuelled correctly, the dusty terrain has also been testing. However, this issue has been resolved by the use of high-quality grease.

“We have found the Hitachi base machines to be extremely reliable,” Kristen continues, “The standard excavators have 98%

availability and we are satisfied with the level of productivity. The main advantage of Hitachi machines is better fuel consumption, which makes a huge difference in saving costs.”

Owing to the remote location and other factors, the benefit of after-sales care has also been vital to Razel. “The main aspects (of after-sales support) are the availability of spare parts, support service and technical expertise,” adds Kristen. “We have to focus on service, especially in Africa, and we are happy that the standard Hitachi Zaxis excavators are working so reliably.”