Liebherr marks century in Africa

By Euan Youdale13 February 2012

Liebherr LHM 550 mobile harbour crane en route to APM Terminals Apapa in Nigeria

Liebherr LHM 550 mobile harbour crane en route to APM Terminals Apapa in Nigeria

A Liebherr LHM 550 will be the manufacturer's hundredth mobile harbour crane in Africa.

The 144 tonne capacity crane will go to APM Terminals' Apapa container port in Nigeria. With the addition of the new machine, APM Terminals' fleet will comprise nine heavy-duty machines operating in Benin, Luanda and Apapa.

The manufacturer sold its first mobile harbour cranes to Africa in 1976, two years after setting up the division, with two deliveries to Libya.

In the following two decades business was poor "due to serious stability issues, quests for independence, as well as low economic development in various African countries," said a company spokesman.

Two deliveries to ports in South Africa and Namibia marked a turnaround in 1996. In 2001, a new peak was achieved with seven LHM deliveries to customers in Namibia and Nigeria.

Since 2007 more than 70 Liebherr mobile harbour cranes have started operation in Africa for container and bulk handling, as well as general cargo operation. "Despite a noticeable global trend towards bulk handling, most of the African ports still prefer container handling configuration," added the spokesman.

Almost a quarter of all the manufacturer's mobile harbour cranes sold in Africa have been delivered to Nigeria. Neighbouring Algeria, Libya and Tunisia have 43 machines, with the southern and western regions catching up, mainly driven by Nigeria and South Africa, respectively, said the company.

The LHM 400 and LHM 250 are the most popular models in Africa, with 19 of each in operation. There are eight LHM 550s in operation, plus a number of orders in backlog. Four of them have the Pactronic hybrid drive system.

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