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Using 10/20 grade Bitumen could help save African Governments millions in costs

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According to figures from the World Bank1, the African continent only has 204 kms of road per 1000 sq km of land area, out of which only a quarter is paved. The world average is 944 kms per 1,000 sq kms, with over half paved.


According to figures from the World Bank1, the African continent only has 204 kms of road per 1000 sq km of land area, out of which only a quarter is paved. The world average is 944 kms per 1,000 sq kms, with over half paved. 

Fortunately, there is a big push by the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) to help improve the situation, investing $25.4 billion by 2020 into improving Africa’s transport system, with ambitions to grow the current road network from 10,000 kms, to up to 100,000 kms.2 Today, there are numerous major road projects being undertaken in the continent: a paved trunk road connecting Cairo, Egypt and Cape Town, South Africa; the Trans-Sahara Highway from Algiers, Algeria to Lagos, Nigeria. 

“We are delighted that road building is a key priority here in Africa. Road authorities here have important decisions to make. Using a conventional grade of bitumen can reap some cost savings in the short term, while taking a more long term view and selecting a premium bitumen like penetration grade 10/20, will save authorities millions of dollars in the long run in building materials, transportation of these materials to the construction site, and time. This is due to a thinner pavement design - up to 30% less asphalt than traditional designs, as well as extended pavement life,” said Thomas Moons, General Manager of Shell Bitumen Europe & Africa (EUAF), who recently spoke at the Argus Africa Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

Shell Bitumen recently introduced its penetration grade 10/20 bitumen to its South African customers, which is available for direct pick-up at the SAPREF refinery. Shell also holds some 10/20 bitumen inventory in other locations in South Africa. Shell has continually invested in its supply chain in the EUAF region, enabling it to effectively serve South African customers.

Shell Bitumen also provides its EUAF customers with expert technical support for their individual project needs out of its Regional Technical Centre in Strasbourg, France.

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