Preparing for the 2020 grand opening of what is tipped to be the largest tyre manufacturing plant in the whole of Southeast Asia, a spokesperson for Mr. Nandana Lokuwithana and Rigid Tyres Corporation stated that the new plant would provide up to 3000 direct employment opportunities, and 3 times as many indirect opportunities- opening doors for Sri Lankan workers to venture into the steel industry.
Press releases reveal that the new plant is nearing completion, fitted with state-of-the-art-technology for production; ensuring the delivery of high-performance products. The Onyx Group, established by Mr. Lokuwithana in the UAE, acquired the company’s solid tyre manufacturing and distributing assets from Marangoni SPA; an well-known European tyre manufacturer with its headquarters in Rovereto, Italy. Rigid Tyres products will carry the same title of being “licenced by Marangoni”- conforming to the US and European standards which are known for high performance, fuel efficiency, and sustainability.
The complex consists of high-quality features; such as a four-storied ultra-modern lab dedicated to performing advanced research and development, and the use of cutting edge technology applied in the production process, reinforcing their mission to create a futuristic workspace into action. The production plant will create a multitude of opportunities to utilize the tech-savvy youth of the country, and have provided them with employment to match their qualifications; mitigating the effects of underemployment and emigration which the labour force faces regularly.
As all Rigid Tyres products are manufactured to international standards, the opportunity to begin exports is attractive. Looking at their long-term strategy, Rigid Tyres has made plans to export up to 75% of its products to European countries, registering high amounts of foreign exchange into Sri Lanka, and increasing its exposure to the international market.
Mr. Nandana Lokuwithanas action on investment is also beneficial to the local community. As part of the Rigid Tyres project, Mr. Lokuwithana took it upon himself to revitalise the rubber plantations, not just benefiting his own business but greatly aiding the villagers in the vicinity whose livelihoods depended on the rubber industry. With Rigid Tyres as the backbone to the industry, experts have gathered that the Rubber Master Plan to bring in 5 million USD through the industry in the next 5 years could be deemed possible.
In light of the country’s new exposure to producing to international standards and intervening in exports, there will be an increase in the availability of skilled labour, leading to the dawn of a new era of employment in Sri Lanka.