Transport Magazine

Maintaining the balance.

Construction on Lanzarote is only possible
in harmony with nature conservation.

In 1993 Lanzarote was the first island to be fully declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. This makes responsible use of resources even more important. Modern technology and trained employees are Grupo Tiagua’s answer to this.

Lanzarote lies in the middle of the Atlantic, at around the latitude of southern Morocco. When the sun shines here, it’s powerful. Orlando Álvarez sits down behind the wheel of his Actros and immediately reaches for his sunglasses. “You get used to it,” says the driver with a grin.

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Has lived and worked on Lanzarote for many years: Orlando Álvarez.

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Tiagua obtains sand, gravel and broken rock from its own quarries.

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Tiagua obtains sand, gravel and broken rock from its own quarries.

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Tiagua obtains sand, gravel and broken rock from its own quarries.

At Tías in the southeast of Lanzarote, where the Tiagua Group operates a quarry, he has just loaded his Actros 1848 with rock dust. Álvarez will transport the material to the west of the island in his blue tipper trailer. Álvarez is driving for Grupo Tiagua, which is working there on the expansion of Playa Blanca harbour. The harbour area is to be doubled in size, thus creating more capacity for ferries and cruise ships.

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Every year, the trucks of the Grupo Tiagua transport around 500,000 tonnes of aggregates over the island.

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Every year, the trucks of the Grupo Tiagua transport around 500,000 tonnes of aggregates over the island.

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Every year, the trucks of the Grupo Tiagua transport around 500,000 tonnes of aggregates over the island.

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Every year, the trucks of the Grupo Tiagua transport around 500,000 tonnes of aggregates over the island.

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Every year, the trucks of the Grupo Tiagua transport around 500,000 tonnes of aggregates over the island.

Tourism is Lanzarote’s most important economic sector. Almost two million holidaymakers come to the island every year. Dream beaches, perpetual warm weather and extraordinary nature entice visitors. One of the island’s hallmarks is the fascinating moonscape that has been created as a result of volcanic eruptions. Lanzarote is working hard to preserve the Timanfaya National Park. From 1730 to 1736, the earth spat lava here almost continuously, which created a unique landscape over 167 square kilometres. Today, more than 51 square kilometres belong to the national park.

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Lanzarote has almost two million holidaymakers per year.

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Lanzarote has almost two million holidaymakers per year.

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Lanzarote has almost two million holidaymakers per year.

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Lanzarote has almost two million holidaymakers per year.

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Lanzarote has almost two million holidaymakers per year.

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Lanzarote has almost two million holidaymakers per year.

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Lanzarote has almost two million holidaymakers per year.

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Even though Lanzarote has strict boundaries: there is no tourism without infrastructure.

At the same time, the island needs functioning infrastructure. And working on the island of around 150,000 inhabitants brings its own peculiarities. UNESCO declared the island a biosphere reserve in 1993. “That means that on Lanzarote the landscape is sacred. 40 percent of the surface area is protected. We have to pay attention to every square centimetre,” says Tiagua CEO Amado Quintana. The company takes great care to use recycled materials. Quarries are restored according to ecological guidelines, and transportation is by means of environmentally friendly low-consumption trucks. This is one of the reasons why Tiagua relies on Actros and Arocs in its fleet.

“We have to pay attention to every square centimetre.”

Amado Quintana, Tiagua CEO
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40 percent of the surface area is protected by strict regulations. The drivers at Tiagua are aware of their responsibilities.

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40 percent of the surface area is protected by strict regulations. The drivers at Tiagua are aware of their responsibilities.

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40 percent of the surface area is protected by strict regulations. The drivers at Tiagua are aware of their responsibilities.

“Lanzarote is so much more than sun and sand. It’s a travel destination that supports our environment and cultural identity.”

Amado Quintana
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Amado Quintana. 

“Lanzarote is so much more than sun and sand,” says Quintana. “It’s a travel destination that supports our environment and cultural identity.” The artist César Manrique, whose works can be found all over the island, shaped this self-image. Quintana: “Manrique saw art and nature as being in harmony.”

It is this balance that people like Amado Quintana on Lanzarote therefore have to keep an eye on constantly: on the one hand, a modern, high-performance infrastructure and, on the other, a high level of sustainability.

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César Manrique’s works are as much a part of Lanzarote as the volcanoes.

“Shepherd of the Wind” – César Manrique.

In his own words, he wanted to make Lanzarote “the most beautiful place in the world”: César Manrique (1905 – 1992), one of Spain’s most outstanding artists, was born on the island, and was someone who dedicated his whole soul to his homeland. He began his career as an architect, but then studied painting and was inspired by the island’s bizarre landscape to create surrealistic works of art. His works can be found everywhere on Lanzarote and have given the “Shepherd of the Wind” – as a Spanish poet called him – some influence. “The island must not fall victim to mass tourism,” was his credo. The intensive protection of the island was also his success.

There’s lot of money spent on this in Lanzarote. Last year, the island received 100 million euros for tourism infrastructure, among other things. Tiagua has also been involved in a number of projects on Lanzarote. The most important include the expansion of Puerto de los Mármoles port in Arrecife, the LZ 1 coastal road and the LZ 3 bypass road. Tiagua has moved around 500,000 tonnes of aggregates for concrete and asphalt. The company now has 120 employees, including a team of engineers for project studies and technical consultancy. “We offer complete solutions for public and private construction work,” explains CEO Quintana. Tiagua has 40 trucks on the road in Lanzarote. “Lanzarote’s geology and location require versatility. That’s why today we have construction projects in our order books as well as container transportation, crane work and heavy loads.”

Quintana points to driver Orlando Álvarez’s Tiagua Actros. “Our drivers are always aware that they are moving around in a protected environment. Living and working on this island is a real privilege,” he adds. It is no coincidence that both Lanzarote and the other islands of the Canary archipelago are known as “the happy islands”: a fascinating landscape, an average temperature of 24 degrees and this bright, radiant light.

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Puerto de los Mármelos – one of Grupo Tiagua’s major projects.

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Photos & video: Alexander Tempel