UK-based Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) will open an office in Dubai, its first location outside the UK in its 71 year history. It will be in the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and the official opening date is 10 January 2016.
The initiative reflects both the association’s growing membership in the Middle East and North Africa – 220 companies – and its wider international expansion. Non-UK membership has increased to around 580 companies, representing 60 % of the total.
Kevin Crilly, the nine-year LEEA veteran and the organisation’s regional manager – east, has moved to Dubai to manage the new office. “It’s a huge step”, said Crilly, speaking to International Cranes and Specialized Transport at LEEA’s inaugural Lifting & Rigging Conference Middle East, at the Shangri-La Hotel on 14 and 15 December 2015. “We’ve just celebrated our 70th year and this is the first time that we have done this. We’ve never had an office anywhere outside of the UK before.”
Crilly, who is also one of LEEA’s senior technical officers, said the aim will be for LEEA to use the Dubai office to support its members in the region and to increase its auditing and training activities. He said LEEA aims to audit all of its members every two years, with the Middle East operation requiring around two audits a week.
A full-time auditor is scheduled to join the Dubai team during the first quarter of 2016 and LEEA plans to have a full-time trainer also working from the office by the end of 2016.
Crilly said that LEEA's name and services were becoming wider known and accepted internationally, with some major companies becoming members, including Toyota, Nissan, Bechtel and Shell International. Saudi Aramco has applied for membership.
In addition to its work with its members in the region, LEEA has been assisting regulatory authorities in the UAE, including the Ministry of Labour, to streamline the many different lifting regulations operating throughout the Emirates.
Opening the Dubai conference, Geoff Holden, LEEA chief executive, told delegates that the Dubai office would enhance the level of support it will offer to members in the region.
Holden added that LEEA hoped to establish within two years a Middle East version of its UK exhibition, LiftEx.