December 2008 International Cranes and Specialized Transport magazine editor's comment
By Alex Dahm04 March 2009
As the year draws to a close, 2008 continued the theme from the previous couple of years, almost to the end. It was another year that saw huge gains, again record-breaking growth, among the majority of manufacturers and end users alike. Order backlogs at manufacturers spiralled even higher, production capacity was further ramped up and new product development teams produced more spectacular news.
The aforementioned was true, at least, for about the first nine months of the year. Then huge turmoil started in the world's financial markets. It had rather less initial direct impact in the crane industry than on other areas of the construction industry and on the wider world economy. By the time of writing in late November, however, crane rental houses in a few countries were feeling negative effects and share prices, among other things, at the manufacturers had taken a tumble. Rumours were circulating of orders being cancelled and a couple of manufacturers had announced job cuts while others were still pushing ahead with expansion and working flat-out to fulfil orders.
A characteristic of all of this is clearly a degree of uncertainty but, by no means, should it be assumed that, as a consequence, the outlook for the crane and specialized transport industry, as a whole, will be poor. For a more comprehensive rundown on the year's events in the crane industry, see the World Crane Report in this issue on page 27.
In terms of new products, this time last year I said that we should expect to see something spectacular in 2008, most likely from Manitowoc, Liebherr and Kobelco. The first two proved me correct, Manitowoc in the form of the 2,000 tonne capacity class Model 31000. In a similar capacity class are the two new giants from Liebherr, the as-yet un-named "XXL" lattice boom crawler crane and the MTC 78000 heavy lift mast type crane.I look forward to seeing what the next 12 months will bring. Best wishes for the season and for 2009 from the team at International Cranes and Specialized Transport.