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ISSUE 65(FREE READ)

Caltex Braford Lubricants renovates its warehouse, in Byo Belmont.

-text by Michael Nott -photos by Fotohaus -plans by Gemma Temlett

Caltex Braford Lubricants is a division of Braford Investments (Pvt) Limited, a Zimbabwean company that was incorporated in January 2003. The division is the official distributor of Caltex branded lubricants in Zimbabwe for Astron Energy (Pty) Ltd. Caltex Braford Lubricants is headquartered in Msasa, Harare, and operates two warehouses one in Msasa, Harare, and another in Belmont, Bulawayo.

The Bulawayo warehouse is situated at 97 Plumtree Road, in the industrial area of Belmont. The road is a convenient link to Botswana and the southern and western areas of Zimbabwe. Caltex Braford Lubricants bought the Bulawayo premises in 2010 and have been operating from there ever since. It’s a good location for business but the structure was not ideal for operations as it had previously been a garment factory and the available space was quite restricted particularly, the ceiling height in the warehouse area was only 2.1m so there was not much space to stack pallets of products on top of each other. Caltex Braford Lubricants also wanted to make their retail outlet more visible and improve their corporate image in line with the renovations at their Harare branch.

Work on the renovations started in November 2022 and the new premises were officially reopened on the 28th of March 2023. During the renovations, the team moved to temporary premises located at 2 Wallesey Road in Belmont. Most of the key service providers who worked on the Harare branch renovations were also involved in the Bulawayo renovations. Gemma Temlett from Architecture Spatial Design drew up the plans for the renovations and extensions and SuperStructures supplied and fitted the new warehouse. Signage and branding were supplied and fitted by Claude Neon and the new aluminum door and window frames were supplied by Almin Metal Industries, while Garage Doors supplied the custom-made roller shutters. Most of  the brickwork and construction was done by a Bulawayo-based firm Big Five Renovations. Mr. George Mudanga, Managing Director of Caltex Braford, took on the role of contract manager.

The whole roof of the existing structure was removed and the walls were built up to create a lot more vertical space, including a mezzanine level in the office section. A new wall plate/ring beam was constructed to support the steel trusses for the new Chromadek roof.

The warehouse space was enlarged considerably so it’s now around 400 square metres and the usable roof height is 5.7 metres which allow three pallets to be stacked vertically on top of each other. The steel roof trusses have been positioned for maximum efficiency for racking and efficient forklift circulation. The Chromadek roof has Alububble insulation, a series of translucent sheets for natural light, and additional LED lights for extra lighting as needed. The Bulawayo warehouse is now almost the same size as the warehouse in Harare!

Three large roller shutter doors have been installed to make deliveries and dispatch more convenient. Horizontal steel slats across the windows on the front facade add to the security and in addition give the frontage a more modern, industrial look. Sections of the wall above the main entrance have been painted in Caltex Braford’s signature signal red while the rest of the structure is crisp white plastered brickwork with grey Chromadek cladding above the brick and running over onto the roof.

In the office section, there’s the sales desk, two large offices, ablutions, and a small kitchenette for the staff on the ground floor. There’s a steel staircase to access the mezzanine which contains additional office space and a boardroom.

The floors on the ground floor are tiled for easy maintenance while upstairs the floors are wooden tiles in a parquet design. The offices have suspended ceilings to keep them cool in summer and warmer in winter, so they’re always comfortable. Mwenje Solar have supplied a solar power system for the offices so electricity cuts are no longer a problem.

On the outside of the premises, Bulawayo-based firm Neddicky Industries supplied load-bearing pavers to accommodate bigger and heavier vehicles and for customer parking. Across Plumtree Road, Caltex Braford cleared additional space for customer parking for trucks . inch gravel was also put down to keep the area looking neat and not too muddy or dusty – depending on the season.

Caltex Braford Lubricant’s main customers include walk-in customers who just need a small order as well as retailers in the hardware and motor industries, transport operators, the mining industry, the construction industry, the manufacturing sector, and the railway sector. The Bulawayo branch services the entire southern part of the country as well as the western side up to Victoria Falls and Hwange.

Caltex Braford Lubricants’ product range includes: Passenger Vehicle Engine Oils, Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils, Gear Oils, coolants Railroad oils; Specialty, Heavy Duty Transmission Fluid; General Industrial & Circulating Oil; Industrial Gear oils; Hydraulic oils and greases.

Caltex Braford has won several awards over the years beating other distributors in the SADC region – some of the awards are:

• Highest Sales in Volume Growth in 2013

• 1st Place Highest Overall Sales Volume in 2014

• Highest Delo Premium Volume 2015

• Highest Delo Premium Volume 2016

• Top Distributor of the Year 2022

• Achieving 3 Million Litres Volume in 2022

For more information about their products including technical specifications and advice please visit www.braford.co.zw

Bulawayo Warehouse

97 Plumtree Road, Belmont.

Call: +263-0292-475152

Mobile: +263 715 316 372

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