This year’s ICm20 presents a much more positive picture of crane manufacturing worldwide than it did this time last year. ICST reports.


First, the figure for overall total sales of the top 20 manufacturers from all crane-related activity is up from last year. It has turned around from a 1.5 per cent decline in the 2017 table to a 1.5 % increase this year, from $24.477 billion to 24.832 billion. It is back up to a level it was at two years ago.

A big change comes from the Chinese manufacturers benefiting from a turnaround in their domestic market which has seen all but one of them gain places in the table. Among the other manufacturers, there are big changes at five of them as a result of acquisitions.

Leading the way

From the top, Liebherr remains in first place and strengthens its position, at least in its reporting currency (€), where it showed a small increase, of 0.89 % in its combined crane division sales over last year. Note that the Dollar-Euro exchange rate fluctuation, however, shows it as a decline.

Second in the table, Konecranes, made a leap from 5th place to second, as a result of its first year of including the sales from the Materials Handling and Port Solutions division of Terex Cranes, which it acquired in January 2017. Conversely for Terex, as a consequence of the sale, it moves down the table from second place, where it had been for many years, to ninth place. Its sales were down 7 % which compared favourably against the 19 % drop the year before.

Next, in third place, where it has been for many years, is Cargotec, slightly down on last year. Its Hiab hydraulic loader crane division was up, 4.4 % to €1,082.4 million while both the Kalmar and MacGregor divisions were down on the previous year.

Also in the same position as last year after having gained a place each time over the last several years, is Chinese port crane manufacturer ZPMC which posted a 23.19 % decline in sales from the previous year.

The decline at ZPMC is an anomaly among the Chinese manufacturers this year as the others in the table have all posted massive increases of more than 90 % as follows: XCMG up 94 %, Sany up 93.5 %, and Zoomlion up 92.21 %. They gained two, three and three places, respectively. Zoomlion just hits the top ten and Sany is closer to it. Continuing into this year, specialist forecasting and market research company Off-Highway Research, reported a 76 % increase in mobile crane sales in China for the first half of 2018. For the full year it forecasts a total of 27,500 units in 2018, up 43 % on 2017 and about three times what they were in 2016.

Manitowoc in fifth place has done well to gain a place from last year, despite posting a 1.98 % decline in sales over the previous year, although that was rather better than the 13.5 % decline a year earlier. It has also managed to just stay ahead of Tadano in sixth, which has also moved up one even though its sales were down 3.3 %.

Palfinger maintains its 8th place but sales were up an impressive 6.6 % from €1,154 million which in turn the year before were up 10 %. At the time of writing in late October, the Group had just published sales figures for the first three quarters of 2018 where revenue in the Land segment, the majority of which is cranes, was up 11.9 % to €1,017 million ($1,155 million).

The best of the rest

Moving outside the top ten and dropping one place to 11th this year is Kato, which also showed an increase, of 2 %, in sales but profit was down. It has been known as Kato HiCom Ltd since its acquisition in late 2016 of crawler crane manufacturer IHI Cranes which added around JPY 10 billion ($89 million) in sales in the 2017 ICm20 over the year before.

Sumitomo Heavy Industries Construction Crane Co (HSC) has replaced in the table what was formerly Hitachi Sumitomo Construction Crane Co, gaining three places, at 13. It reflects the fact that Sumitomo now has 66 % of HSC and Hitachi Construction Machinery has the remaining 34 %. Until the end of March 2017, prior to the transfer of shares, it was a 50:50 joint-venture. It is now a member of the SHI group.

At 14 Columbus McKinnon is down three places from last year despite a 6.7 % rise in sales largely from the acquisition of factory crane manufacturer R Stahl from Konecranes. It paid $240 million for Stahl in January 2017.

US wheeled mobile and crawler crane manufacturer Link-Belt at 15 had a good year with a 7.1 % increase over the previous 12 months.

For Japanese manufacturer Kobelco it was less good with sales of crawler cranes “lower than the previous year because of lower demand, mainly in Southeast Asia and other factors,” Kobelco said. It moved down four places to 16. In outlook, however, it expects an increase for 2018 on the back of a forecast increase in demand from North America and Southeast Asia.

Sennebogen retained its 17th place and posted a double-digit increase of 21 % in its equipment sales. Furukawa Unic was also up, by one place to 18, by a little over 6 % in sales, on the previous year, following a 5 % drop the year before. Unic Machinery claims a 50 % share of the Japanese straight boom loader crane market and a 40 % share of the spider crane sector.

Manitex changed places with Unic, down one to 19, posting lower sales for the last couple of years now after several years of strong growth. Rounding out the top 20 is a new entry, Italian manufacturer of hydraulic loader cranes Fassi.


The 2019 ICm20




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