Building for the future

18 July 2013

Liebherr tower cranes at the Costanera Center, Santiage-de-Chile

Liebherr tower cranes at the Costanera Center, Santiage-de-Chile

Much of Latin America has seen a rise in infrastructure projects in the last 12 months. Brazil, for example, has been undergoing reconstruction and expansion work in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in São Paulo. Elsewhere, mining, oil and petrochemical developments are also increasing, with project hot spots in Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Companies are benefiting from this growth. Lifting and transport provider Tradelossa, for example, has been able to invest in its fleet and services due to the increased work. Other areas that are benefiting are transport links, especially road infrastructure. Link-Belt’s Corey Rogers, regional sales manager for Latin America, explains, “As roads improve in the area it becomes easier to move about. A result of this has been that more companies are entering the crane rental market. For us this has been a positive boost for our hydraulic truck cranes, which are more conducive to short term jobs and long distance travel.”

Business and facilities
This large scale investment into Latin America has resulted in a surge of facilities opening across the region. Heavy haul and lift company Roll-Lift, for example, is looking to expand its presence with potential offices in Venezuela and other Latin American countries.

Hiab has also seen similar growth, as a company spokesperson explains, “The volume of Hiab loader cranes is growing significantly every year and is a substantial part of our global business. In Chile, Argentina and Mexico we have several branches with sales, marketing, service and parts.”

Liebherr-Werk Ehingen makes 10 % of its total turnover in Latin America. “We have sales and service subsidiaries in Guarantinguetá, Brazil, Santiago, Chile, Mexico,” a spokesperson says. “The newest is the Liebherr Mexico subsidiary, which is responsible for sales, service and spare parts of Liebherr mobile cranes in Mexico and other countries of Central America.” Liebherr also has a mobile crane division in Buenos Aires, for sales and services in Argentina and Uruguay. Further afield, a new sales and service centre in Miami, USA, will accommodate Liebherr’s maritime cranes division and business relations to Central and South America. The new facility is in Hialeah Gardens, Okeechobee, USA.

Link-Belt has distributors across Latin America, including BMC in Brazil, MADISA in Mexico, Mercóvil in Colombia (with five dealer offices in Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Yopal), Paramount Gruas in Chile and Argentina and Cardoze and Lindo in Panama. “In Brazil, Mexico and Colombia projected growth for each of these countries for 2013 is at 3.5 % or better and is 4.5 % for Colombia,” Rogers adds.

Also based in Brazil is the new Manitowoc EnCore facility in Passo Fundo, which focuses on refurbishing damaged cranes. Crane manufacturer Terex also has a new spare parts warehouse in São Paulo, Brazil and distributors in Argentina and Peru. In addition, following the purchase of Demag Cranes AG, Terex is also training service staff to cover all Brazilian states.

Meanwhile, XCMG has a manufacturing base in Brazil, which is about to receive a US$200 million investment for production, sales network and training. “XCMG in São Paulo will become a centre for sales, spare parts and services for Brazil and the whole of Latin America,” a spokesperson from XCMG adds.

Crane manufacturer Zoomlion, which in 2012 received 15% of its export business from Latin America, has plans to open a new factory in this area in the next two years. The company has dealers in most countries of Latin America, with the group head office and service centre in São Paulo, Brazil. “We are working together with our dealers as our service station which covers most local customers,” a company spokesperson explained.

The Latin American market also represents around 15 % of business for Palfinger. Hannes Hemetsberger at knuckle boom crane manufacturer Palfinger, explains, “Two agreements gives us support to increase our revenues, one in the Mercosul which permits countries like Chile and Argentina to import from Brazil without import duty, the second one is an agreement of Andina countries (Chile, Peru, Ecuador) with Europe, which also permits this benefit when purchasing cranes from Europe.”

Meeting demands
As the number of crane companies entering the market increases, so too does the competition. A result is that crane manufacturers and rental companies are adjusting their cranes and services to suit customer needs. “Regarding construction, the main competitors are the telescopic cranes,” said Hemetsberger. To compete, Palfinger introduced in Brazil the models PK 63002-EH, PK 76002-EH and PK 88002-EH and PK 100002. “The cranes have higher efficiency and agility due to the fly jib,” Hemetsberger adds.

All terrains have also been a popular choice in Latin America and are a best seller for Liebherr, especially models in the 70 tonne to 100 tonne, 130 tonne and 220 tonne range. “The main applications for these models are petrochemical plants and mines,” a spokesperson from Liebherr adds.

This trend is also true for Link-Belt, which offers a range of cranes to customers in Latin America, including telescopic crawler cranes and six-wheel hydrostatic rough terrain cranes. As Corey Rogers explains, “The majority of sales are from Brazil, mostly in the 50 to 80 metric tonne range. Here they are being used in ports as more goods are being transported into the country.” Link-Belt also introduced the RTC-80110 Series II and RTC-80130 Series II to the market. “They have long reach, low height and pick and carry capacities,” Rogers explains, “They are also easy to transport and have added features like anemometers to measure wind speed.”

Terex also introduced a rough terrain crane for the Latin American market, the Progress 55. The Progress 55 rough terrain crane is the same as the RT555, which is available in the USA and Europe, and is produced at the Terex plant in Cachoeirinha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Heavy lift provider Roll-Lift, which has been operating 80 tonne rough terrains throughout the Latin American region, sees the popularity of rough terrains continuing. “We believe the market is showing a preference for crawler cranes from 100 to 400 tonnes, rough terrains cranes up to 100 tonnes and telescopic cranes between 80 and 200 tonnes,” a spokesperson from Roll-Lift said.

Following these popularity trends, XCMG exhibited the 70 tonne capacity RT70E rough terrain crane and the 3-axle QY75KN “all-terrain like” truck crane at the International Trade Fair for Construction and Mining Equipment (M&T Expo) 2013 at Imigrantes Convention Center in São Paulo, Brazil, last year.

From Zoomlion 30 tonne and 70 tonne capacity truck cranes are popular in Brazil. “In Chile, there are a lot of middle heavy tonne requests, from 90 tonnes to 150 tonnes. For other states in Latin America, Zoomlion mainly supplies 30 tonne capacity cranes,” a company spokesperson adds. Ranging from 30 to 220 tonne capacity, Zoomlion have developed the ZMC75 truck crane, which was launched in Brazil. “It has already taken a big market share,” a company spokesperson said, “and several other cranes are already being developed for the Latin American market.”

In the tower crane market in Latin America, Liebherr-Werk Biberach has developed the 85 EC-B 5b flat-top crane, which has a capacity of 5 tonnes and maximum radius of 50 metres. The crane has small external dimensions at the tower of just 1.2 x 1.2 metres and a maximum hook height of 46 metres, Liebherr says. The tower crane is manufactured in Guaratinguetá, Brazil. “One of the most prominent examples of this has been the use of HC-L series luffing jib cranes working in Chile on the Costa Nera Center,” said a Liebherr spokesperson, “Our 1250 HC and 630 EC-H cranes are also used in mines in Peru.”

Hydraulic crane manufacturer Hiab has developed articulated loader cranes to serve the region. Hiab cranes such as the H1055-8, that have different lift and reach capabilities, are proving popular, a company spokesperson said. The loader cranes come with the Variable Stability Limit (VSL) system, a function for handling loads safely. This improves safe operation of the crane, a company spokesperson adds.

For the power segment, BigLift intends to buy conventional hydraulic platform trailers. “We also have self propelled trailers (SPMT), jack and slide equipment and conventional hydraulic trailers operating in the area. In Brazil SPMTs are becoming more popular on shipyards, oil and gas, and petrochemical sites,” a spokesperson says. The company also offers motion compensated cranes on barges for deep water and shallow water use from Dutch sister company Barge Master, a spokesperson from Roll-Lift adds.

Crane and transport company Tradelossa, which focuses on project cargo and super loads in Mexico, have found the European type of modular hydraulic trailer is the most common. “For super loads we also use a lot of US and Mexican types of low beds for midsize cargos,” a company spokesperson says.

Looking ahead
The Latin American market is forecast to continue to grow, with more infrastructure projects and investments expected for the next few years. “Expectations are that the Brazilian government will publicly bid many large projects in the last semester 2013, such as the high speed bullet train, large investments in the ports, railroads extensions and highway extensions,” a spokesperson from Heavy lift solutions company Roll-Lift says, “Several airports will be privatised and all of these investments will require a lot of equipment to coming years.” As a spokesperson from transport company Tradeloassa says, “Right now several Latin American countries are on a good growth rate, but things do not last forever.”

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