Dirk Verwim, sales manager for heavy lift and transport giant Sarens, speaks to IC about the crane market in the global petrochemical industry.
IC: How has the market grown over the last five years and how is that likely to change?
Dirk Verwirn: The market growth is enormous and will probably not stop until 2012 although [some people are] refraining a bit now. What we also face are more long-term projects where long term renting of big equipment is required. This is because the goods to be installed on sites are heavier and the number of heavy components is increasing, which makes the need for long-term renting of very heavy equipment a top priority and a critical factor of a project.
Everybody is aware that there is a lack of equipment in all worldwide markets, which is seriously increasing purchase prices for new equipment. The big challenge for equipment service providers now lays in how to increase service rates accordingly and how to convince existing clients of the need for long term ordering in advance of “services”, sometimes by more than a year. This is a must for crane rental companies to be able to guarantee their services and availabilities and be able to plan their long-term investment programmes.
IC: Which regions are generating the greatest amount of work?
DV: We see increased investment activity all over the world and try to follow our clients wherever they need our services the most. Sarens feels the Middle East, Oceania and some South American countries top the market. We believe this will last at a high level until 2012.
IC: What are the most recent cranes you have received for these applications?
DV: Liebherr: LR 1350 and LR 1400. Terex Demag: CC 2500, CC 2800, CC 6800, CC 8800 and CC 9800. The same are continuously on order because a purchase of a big size crane today is only supplied in 2010.
IC: Are there any new techniques in the sector?
DV: Yes, of course. Creative ideas are requested and Sarens has to make more custom-made engineering. Our SMLT (Sarens Modular Lifting Tower) concept is one such example. The SMLT has lifting capacities up to 14,400 tonnes. Others are, skid-shoes with incorporated jacking systems, SARtower lifting systems combined with skidding operations, load outs, bridge-positioning by using a combination of heavy lift and transport techniques. It all demands the highest creativity of our engineering department, to serve client problems in the best way possible. That's why we are appreciated, that's why the more complex the project the better for Sarens' competitive position.
IC: Are long delivery times affecting what you do, how and why?
DV: For sure it does. We have to sell more “no availability” than in the past and it hurts when you have to say this to a loyal client who forgot to order in time.