Paramount aims to leave opposition trailing

Paramount Trailers officially opened its new manufacturing facility in October 2013. They invested R150 million in a state-of-the-art facility in Kliprivier Business Park, which is situated next to the R59, the busy link between Johannesburg and Vereeniging.

This family-owned business had been based in Alrode, south of Johannesburg for the past 17 years, acquiring numerous premises around the initial offices to facilitate company growth over the years.

Fernando Marques, who is now Chairman and CEO of the company, established Paramount Trailers in 1997. The company’s main line of business was manufacturing commercial flat deck trailers such as tri-axles and super-links, small parts manufacturing and offering trailer service and repairs.


Although the company had built up a 16 000 m² facility, comprising six factories with 9 000 m² under roof, it was placing constraints on the company’s ambitions and manufacturing efficiencies. In 2011, a decision was taken to purchase land in the Kliprivier Business Park and develop a new manufacturing plant.

“We had outgrown our existing premises and it was necessary for us to upgrade our facilities,” says Warren Marques, Paramount Trailers MD and son of the founder.

“In recent years we have evolved as a company by diversifying our product range and bringing more options to market,” continued Warren. Paramount’s product range now includes tautliner, step deck, cattle and sugar cane trailers, side tippers and bulkers to cater for the various transporting industries.


Paramount Trailers MD Warren Marques with his father Fernando, the founder of the company and Chairman & CEO

The company acquired a 75 000 m² property in the Kliprivier Business Park and began construction of its new 26 000 m² under roof manufacturing facility, which comprises two factories and a 3 000 m² office block at the beginning of 2012.

“These new facilities are a reflection of our commitment to investing in this industry and becoming a leader in customised trailer manufacturing across the African continent,” said Fernando Marques.

“The new premises will also enable us to not only significantly increase the number of trailers we are manufacturing on a monthly basis but to also operate more efficiently,” continued Fernando.

The professional operational facilities allow for a significant capacity increase in the number of trailers that can be manufactured monthly. Previously they managed to produce 40 trailers every month and had a total of 120 employees. At the new manufacturing plant, their production capacity each month will now be 250 trailers and there are currently more than 200 people employed at Paramount Trailers.


An aerial view of R150 million state-of-the-art facility in Kliprivier Business Park

In addition, new equipment has been purchased to ensure that the latest innovations in customised trailer manufacturing will be provided.

Approximately R30 million of the investment by Paramount Trailers has been spent on new equipment and machinery. This includes the production line operation, spray booths, forklifts, compressors, guillotines, band saws and a high definition profile cutter that was installed in November 2013. In the future the company is looking at investing in automatic robotic welding cells, an operation that is currently all done manually.

Included in the newly acquired fabricating equipment are a Durma AD-R 30220 CNC hydraulic synchro press brake featuring 3-axis CNC control as standard, 3050 mm x 2600 mm between frames and a 220 ton bending force, a Durma SBT 3010 HS hydraulic NC guillotine for shearing sheet thicknesses of 10 mm and a cutting length of 3100 mm, a Durma DC8 – S360 bandsaw and a Durma DB – S 560 bandsaw that comes with an automatic feeding line. All this equipment has been supplied by Durma South Africa.


A view of the assembly area

“The investment in the new machinery, with more to come, has allowed us to improve our efficiencies as well as bring inhouse and manufacture a number of components that we were outsourcing in the past. Naturally this is also going to bring down costs,” commented Warren.

Paramount Trailers has been operating in the SADC region for more than 10 years. According to the company various trailers are popular in the SADC region, depending on the application and industry in which the trailer will be operated.

“The tri-axles and superlinks are always popular with their versatility for transporting and logistics, and the superlink side tippers and rigid rear end tippers are well-liked within the mining industry,” said Paulo Ribeiro, Financial Manager Paramount Trailers, in a recent interview.


The new Durma SBT 3010 HS hydraulic NC guillotine and Durma AD-R 30220 CNC hydraulic synchro press brake. Both were supplied by Durma South Africa

“Paramount has built its reputation on being able to develop and manufacture trailers to meet customer requirements. This is even more critical when manufacturing a trailer for countries across the border. It is important to understand the conditions in which the trailer will be operating. We have developed and manufactured an export trailer that is more robust for cross-border transport. The design uses stronger materials, which allows for longer trailer life under tough road conditions while ensuring that carrying capacity is not compromised,” continued Ribeiro.

“It is important not to sacrifice trailer strength for payload. A lighter trailer will more than often not be able to last in tough conditions. Engage with your trailer manufacturer to ensure that the correct trailer is purchased for your operating requirements, i.e. application, road conditions, type of trailer, etc. Consider purchasing a trailer that will provide you with greater versatility in transporting different types of cargo as this will assist in having loads delivered both to and from the SADC destination,” explained Ribeiro.


The company has spent R30 million on new equipment. This includes a Durma ironworker and a Geka ironworker supplied by Toolquip and Allied


A section in the fabrication area that is due to be automated in the future


The investment in the new machinery, with more to come, has allowed Paramount Trailers to improve efficiencies as well as bring inhouse and manufacture a number of components that they used to outsource in the past


In the development stage is a flatdeck trailer with a liquid storage facility

“Road transport is the primary transport medium across South Africa and the continent, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. The majority of raw materials, industrial supplies and fuels are transported by road. The reliability, convenience, security and time management of road transport continue to make it a preferred medium across industries. Growth into Africa depends largely on the rand to US dollar foreign exchange rate and the weaker rand leads to an increase in trailers being exported as our pricing becomes quite competitive when compared with Chinese, Brazilian and European competitors. Africa is a significant growth market with the quantity of resources being discovered regularly,” said Ribeiro.

Currently the company has a 50/50 split between providing trailers locally and those that are supplied to the SADC region. They are determined that no matter how large the company grows it is still imperative that a personal relationship is maintained with all clients.

“Our reputation and success can be attributed not only to the excellent trailers we produce but the superb client relationships we foster. Paramount Trailers is committed to supplying excellent customer service, an affordable quality product and leadership in innovation and design,” said Warren.

Paramount Truck Centre
This great service has also been extended to of a new venture, Paramount Truck Centre, which will offer clients’ pre-owned trucks and trailers from a lot adjacent to the new premises. The new company was opened at the beginning of October 2013 and aims to provide clients with a “one-stop-shop”.

In the future, Paramount will also begin offering its clients rental trailers to keep their businesses moving during the lead-time to delivery of their new trailers.


The Durma bandsaws that were purchased by the company


A stepdeck trailer manufactured by Paramount Trailers

“We have now entered the premier division in this industry and we are proud of what we have built over nearly two decades, but the time has come for Paramount Trailers to increase our footprint in South Africa and across the SADC region,” said Fernando.

“We differentiate ourselves in that we are big enough to supply major customers but small and flexible enough to handle individual customer requirements,” notes Marques. “We like to maintain a finger on the pulse of the company, personally knowing the majority of the customers and being able to put a face to a name,” said Fernando.

In five years time, Marques’ vision for Paramount Trailers is that the company will have grown within the market while retaining the family principles which has brought the company its success to date.

“We would like to be bigger and maintain the current values that the organisation possesses,” concluded Fernando.

For further details contact Paramount Trailers on TEL: 011 900 1228 or visit