09 May 2019 09:38 Edited
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It is 11am in the morning. The glaring sun is beating down; Orlando Álvarez puts on his sunglasses. “You get used to it,” says the driver. Here, in the municipality of Tías in the southeast of Lanzarote, where the Tiagua group of companies operates a quarry, his Actros 1848 has just taken on a load of aggregates. His task is to drive the material to the island’s west in his blue dump truck. There the Grupo Tiagua, Álvarez’ employer, is working on the expansion of Playa Blanca harbour. The port area is to be doubled, to boost the capacity for accommodating ferries and cruise ships.
Tourism is the most important sector of Lanzarote’s economy. Almost two million holidaymakers come to the island every year. The visitors are attracted to the perfect beaches, the warm weather all year round, and the spectacular natural environment. A distinctive feature of the island is its fascinating lunar landscape, which was created as a result of volcanic eruptions. Lanzarote is mounting an immense effort in order to preserve and maintain the Timanfaya National Park.
At the same time, providing the island with an efficient infrastructure is becoming ever more important. And working on this island with approximately 150 000 inhabitants and an area of almost 850 square kilometres also comes with a number of unusual challenges. In 1993, the Unesco granted the island biosphere reserve status. Which means: on Lanzarote, land is “sacred”. 40 per cent of its land mass is protected. “We must look after ever square centimetre,” says Tiagua-Chief Amado Quintana solemnly. The company is scrupulous about using recycled materials. Quarries are rehabilitated in accordance with ecological guidelines, and transport runs are carried out using environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient trucks. This is why Tiagua also includes Actros and Arocs in its fleet.
“Lanzarote amounts to much more than just sunny beaches. It is a travel destination where we fight for our environment and our cultural identity.”
– Amado Quintana, CEO of Tiagua
“Lanzarote amounts to much more than just sunny beaches,” says Quintana. “It is a travel destination where we fight for our environment and our cultural identity.” This set of values was also shared by the artist and architect César Manrique; many of his works can be found throughout the island. Quintana: “Manrique’s vision was one of art and nature in harmony.”
On Lanzarote, people like Amado Quintana must constantly strive to find a balance between creating a modern, efficient infrastructure on the one hand, and achieving a high degree of sustainability on the other.
A great deal of money is spent on sustainable development on Lanzarote. Last year, the island received 100 million euros earmarked for tourism infrastructure, amongst other things. Tiagua has also been able to contribute to a number of projects on Lanzarote. Amongst the most important of these are the expansion of the harbour at Puerto de los Mármoles in Arrecife, the coastal road LZ 1, and the bypass road LZ 3.
The company grew further, recording around 20 per cent more orders in 2018. Tiagua moved about 500 000 tonnes of rocks and gravel for these projects. Today the company has 120 employees, including a team of engineers working on project studies and technical consulting. “We offer complete solutions for public and private construction work,” says Quintana, the general manager. Tiagua has 40 trucks operating on Lanzarote. “The peculiar geology and the location of Lanzarote call for versatility,” he adds.
Quintana points to the Tiagua Actros of his driver Orlando Álvarez. “Our drivers are aware at all times that they are operating in a protected environment,” says Amado Quintana. “Being able to live and work on this island is a real privilege,” he adds. It is no coincidence that Lanzarote and the other islands of the Canary Archipelago with their fascinating landscape, an average temperature of 24 degrees and this bright, radiant light are known as “the Happy Isles”.
The Grupo Tiagua was founded in the year 2000. The origins of the group of companies go back half a century, when it began doing excavation and earth moving work.
The company soon started specialising in construction logistics. Today Tiagua runs all manner of transportation – including carrying sea containers to all corners of the island.
The Group also has a large fleet of construction machinery, custom-built vehicles and heavy-duty cranes.
Photos & Video: Alexander Tempel