The Middle East steel utility poles market size was estimated at USD 4.35 billion in 2014.
The substantial growth prospects of utility poles can be attributed to significant growth in utilities and telecommunications industry. Support by several governments and local municipal corporations have considerably stimulated demand. Wooden, concrete, composite, and steel are the most common types of utility posts used by the industry for transmission and distribution of power and telecommunication lines.
Wooden posts were extensively used when wood was a cheap and readily available material. However, the utility industry has witnessed a dynamic shift towards the strength and reliability of steel in the recent past. Issues such as deforestation, high maintenance and re-treatment for the former over their life span have led to its replacement by its steel counterpart.
Steel provides advantages for high-voltage lines and larger and heavier loads, where taller posts are required for enhanced clearances and longer span requirements. They can also be manufactured to a utility’s specification and pre-drilled for ease of maintenance or in anticipation of future services.
These posts are hollow in structure and are thereby considerably lighter than wooden, composite and concrete posts, which eventually save on transportation costs and ease the process of installation. Technological proliferation and an exponential growth in the infrastructure industry in countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are expected to spur the regional market growth.
Local pole vendors are now offering fiber-reinforced composite posts. This is mainly on account of their inherent lightweight and weather-resistant properties along with higher average life and lower maintenance costs. Fiber-reinforced composite (FRC) posts are increasingly replacing steel posts owing to an increased average life and reduced maintenance costs over the its lifetime.
Composite poles offer 80 years of average life time with minimal or zero maintenance costs. Moreover, they come with lower maintenance and ownership costs and have lessened replacement intervals and associated costs. These posts are safer and easier to install on site and are supposed to cause less disruption to local communities during large-scale installations. The passive safe nature of composite posts improves vehicle passenger safety in case of roadside installations.
Utility poles carrying electricity transmission & distribution (T&D) lines have been considered in the scope of the report. In addition to T&D lines, these posts also accommodate telecom lines, cable TV lines and some posts are equipped with lights as well.
They are extensively used by electricity distribution and telecommunication companies and are responsible for supporting thousands of miles of electricity and communication cables above the ground. Municipal corporations use such posts for street and area lighting purposes.
Along with electricity T&D, telecommunications accounted for close to 75% of the total number of posts in the region. Proliferation of telecom sector in the countries from the Middle East is responsible for driving industry growth. Increasing usage of high speed internet has played an important role in pushing forward the expansion and modernization of telecommunication infrastructure.
Moreover, the evolution of entertainment sector is driving the demand for satellite television and mobile phones together with internet and computers which is eventually driving the industry.
Saudi Arabia accounted for over 30% of the total Middle East steel utility poles market, whereas UAE and Qatar are expected to emerge as lucrative markets over the forecast period.
Since its inception in 2000, The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation "KAHRAMAA" has been working on the development and upgradation of the electricity sector, ever since its inception in 2000. The electricity production in the country increased from 4032 MW in 2008 to 8755 MW in 4Q 2013 highlighting the substantial growth of the electricity sector in the country.
Power generation in the UAE is expected to increase by over 1.5 GigaWatts in 2017, according to a report prepared by the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence and the United Nations. The national power demand grew by about 37% from 2008 to 2012. Abu Dhabi’s power-generating capacity increased by close to 44% whereas Dubai’s capacity increased by 44.5%.
The Saudi Electric Company (SEC) is responsible for the management of existing power generation, distribution and delivery facilities, along with investment in new general plants. Saudi Arabia works with GCC countries for linking their national power grids. The company has a vision to link the GCC grid with Europe and the rest of the Arab world through Syria and Turkey.
Al-Babtain, Inara, Hisham El Sewedy Trading Co. Ltd., Hidada, Technopole Industries, and Mideast Engineering (FZC) are some of the key players in the region. These players have laid a strong emphasis on incorporating composite materials posts in their portfolio taking into account their growing popularity. In addition, they vie to secure contracts with government utilities bodies such as SEC, DEWA, ADWEA, and KAHRAMAA.
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