News: JLC, DLA make site visit to Aria water plant
By Chief Petty Officer Eric Harrison
43rd Joint Logistics Command
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – An eight-member logistics team made a site visit to the Aria bottled water plant located just outside Bagram Airfield April 11.
The Aria bottled water plant was opened for processing Jan. 7 and has been approved by the U.S. Army and the International Bottled Water Association for bottled water production.
The Ramin brothers, John, Tahir and Zahir built the plant with their own money along with a free land lease from the U.S. Army. The goal for them and for officials on Bagram is to be able to supply locally bottled water for the base, and eventually the community, at a fair and reasonable price.
Chief Warrant Officer Jose Texidor, the Theater Food Advisor for Combined Joint Task Force 82, is looking forward to the opportunity to have another local bottled water supplier available to the prime vendor, Supreme.
Texidor said the water Supreme gets from Aria will supplement the large amount of bottled water the combined joint operating area already consumes.
"Right now, Supreme gets water out of Dubai, so our price includes shipping costs, which adds to the overall cost," he said. "Whereas, if Supreme gets the water from Aria, that cost will be eliminated."
The plant also serves as a way for the Ramin brothers to provide more than 300 jobs for Afghans when the plant is in full operation and to inject a financial investment into the economy.
Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, John Ramin, the owner of the company, made the trip back to Afghanistan to see where he could help.
"We came in here and saw a lot of opportunities," said younger brother Zahir. "The country is developing, so we decided to stick around."
According to Zahir, each batch produces more than 160,000 half-liter bottles of water. If the plant were running all three of its lines at full operation, it could produce 324,000 bottles of water in one 24-hour period, seven days a week.
Now that all water quality hurdles have been met, the only thing left to do is for Supreme and Aria to negotiate a fair price.
"They passed the Army's water test," said Texidor. "So now it's a matter of them working with Supreme."
"We're closer today than we've ever been at any point in time," said Chief Warrant Officer Bill Taylor, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, part of the Defense Logistics Agency. "We're very pleased with the commitment that the Ramins have made for the U.S. Army and the forces here and for the commitment they're going to be making for the Afghan population."