Last Friday was an important day for GRI in regards to its environmental engagements – the Sri Lankan tyre maker launched its ‘Greening Our Planet’ project by planting 450 rubber trees at smallholder rubber farms in Moneragala District.
Green has long been a byword for environmental awareness, and to ensure nobody doubts the credentials of its latest product, GRI Tires is offering the new Ultimate Green XT in this particular colour. The company says the tyre is its “most environmentally-friendly” product so far.
Locally harvested natural rubber is the key raw material that Sri Lankan tyre maker GRI Tires utilises. It thus views natural rubber farmers as important stakeholders in the ‘GRI ecosystem’. This is an ecosystem that “focuses on sustainability and aims to inspire the farming communities by recognising their work as well as providing knowledge and skills for their development and optimising the yields from their natural rubber farms.”
Sri Lanka based tyre manufacturer GRI has designed and developed a special material handling solid tyre to operate indoors and outdoors snowy terrain. The manufacturer said the Peakmaster Snow reflects the company’s “innovation and engineering ingenuity,” developed to meet special customer needs and specifications. The solid tyre combines an innovative design and an advanced construction for performance in winter weather, including snow. GRI developed samples with special compounds to function in sub-zero temperatures, testing the resulting solid tyres in specific regions over a complete winter season. It says the tyre “proved its vitality and utility for material handling customers.”
We’ve emerged from lockdown into a market environment of rising raw material prices, a global imbalance of containers and exploding shipping costs, not to mention continuing port disruptions. These combined factors have already led to higher tyre prices and product shortages in some instances, but the extent to which customers are affected can be tempered by good stock management.
GRI Tires has been present and building its customer base in the US market for more than 18 years now. Gary Stevens, GRI’s president of sales for material handling tyres in the US, thus comments that “despite the pandemic and the resultant restrictions, GRI continues to cater to the requirements of the customer with the business seeing growth during the last year.”
GRI Tires reports that the second phase expansion of its new production facility, which began in January 2021, is progressing well despite the challenges posed by the current lockdown in Sri Lanka. It is building the new and advanced specialty tyre manufacturing plant next to the current facility with a total investment of US$100 million.
Sri Lankan tyre maker GRI Tires strives to be a responsible company that always recognises the importance of giving back to the country and its people, especially in times of need. Managing director Prabhash Subasinghe states that it “is ingrained in our DNA as an organisation to give back to society.”
GRI has commenced its supply of original equipment tyres to the KION Group, one of the world’s leading providers of industrial trucks and supply chain solutions. KION selected GRI’s Ultimate XT premium plus tyre for its Linde Material Handling forklift trucks, produced in Germany. GRI manufactures its speciality tyres in Sri Lanka, using some of the latest technology and locally sourced natural rubber. It calls the OE deal a milestone for its product development.
GRI has held the latest in its series of events organised through its GREEN X Circle initiative. GRI’s Monaragala, Sri Lanka event brought together natural rubber and rice farmers to show their connectivity. Both farming communities are key stakeholders in the GRI value chain, the Sri Lankan speciality and agricultural tyre manufacturer states. The initiative’s purpose is to foster connectivity and collaboration between the two farming ecosystems while placing emphasis on sustainability principles.
GRI has laid the foundation stone for the second phase of its $100 million manufacturing facility in Badalgama, Sri Lanka. The plant, in the Mirigama Export Processing Zone will expand production of speciality tyres as global demand for its products grows. The company has been expanding rapidly since its $40 million-plus investment in the “world-class” manufacturing facility, inaugurated in 2018. Phase two will include a new mixing facility, expanding the original plant by the end of 2021.
GRI recently held two outreach events with some of the natural rubber farming communities it works with. The events were held under GRI’s Green X Circle initiative which supports Sri Lanka’s farming communities and the country’s vibrant agricultural industry. Identifying a need for extra-curricular sporting activities and equipment for school children in the area, the company distributed cricket, volleyball and badminton equipment to selected schools in Monaragala, Sri Lanka.
At the start of 2021 GRI managing director Prabhash Subasinghe reflected on 2020 and shares his focus for 2021. Beginning with a reflection on the true meaning of resilience – something that is only put to the test only when you go through a year like 2020 – Subasinghe spoke proudly about GRI and the company’s home country Sri Lanka:
“I am humbled and proud of how resilient we were as people, a company, and a country. Our fortitude drove the way we interacted with society and the way we managed our relationships with our stakeholders. GRI showed an incredible amount of resilience in all facets.
Speciality tyre manufacturer GRI reports that it has upgraded its Human Resources agility. According to the company, HR agility has been key to the company’s resilience and resourcefulness during the global pandemic.