The annual IC crane rental survey 2012

By Laura Hatton04 February 2013

In last year’s IC crane rental survey, the recession continued to play a major role in the way that rental rates were mapped out around the world. Inconsistency was a massive theme, with areas such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia experiencing peaks in rental rates, while areas in Europe struggled under the weight of the global downturn.

This year the results appear to have ‘levelled out’ and the current feedback suggests that, for the time being at least, many companies will experience a period where much of their rental rates and fleet sizes will simply stay the same throughout 2013 – down but stable.

The past 12 months, however, have not been the easiest of times for crane companies around the world. A couple of typical comments from respondents comment on how difficult things are, “prices were very bad for companies in the Netherlands”, and “a flat economy in North America resulted in many crane companies folding”.

A similar experience was felt by most crane companies throughout Europe, with rental rates staying the same for 50 to 100 tonne capacity mobile cranes alongside percentage decreases in the rental market for 100 tonne-metre and 300 tonne-metre tower cranes. Similar survey results applied for 150 tonne capacity crawler cranes.

The results for utilisation rates across Europe painted a similar picture, with a decrease of around 20% in all cranes usage. Spain, however, was the worst hit, as one respondent explains, “The situation is dramatic for the Spanish tower crane manufacturers and rental companies. A lot of companies have lain off up to 90% of their staff and rental rates are crazy.”

These dire conditions aren’t confined to Europe, though, as a respondent from South America explains, “The current state of the crane rental market is going up and down quickly” and in more than one area there was a general feeling from respondents that “the crane rental business was decreasing”.

Despite the negative feedback regarding rental rates and utilisation rates, the survey results did reveal that over the last twelve months there were some rental companies around the world that experienced a 1 to 10 % rise in the use of their cranes. From 50 tonne capacity crawler cranes to 300 tonne-metre tower cranes, many companies in the Middle East continued to report and reap the benefits of increased usage and rental rates. In South Asia and throughout areas in Asia Pacific there was also a general increase in rental rates for 70 tonne capacity crawler cranes, 100 tonne-metre and 300 tonne-metre tower cranes.

Better overall
Considering the previous year’s dips and dives in rental rates and usage, the forecast for 2013 generally looks promising for the crane rental industry as a whole.

With the Olympic Games planned to be held in Brazil in 2016, it is no surprise that rental companies in South America are forecasting crane usage to increase throughout most regions. Elsewhere, 50 tonne and 100 tonne capacity mobile cranes are expected to experience the biggest increase in utilisation rates across all regions, with the Middle East expecting to see the greatest rise. Areas in North America are also hoping to see an increase in rental rates for these particular cranes. Everywhere else, however, rental rates are expected to stay the same. Even still, as the “crane market continues to slow down” in places such as Europe, Turkey and even areas in Asia Pacific, rental companies are forecasting a slight dip in rates. In the Philippines, however, “crane rental rates are good” and in Malaysia “rental is stable. Demand is higher in the oil and gas industries”.

Smoothing out
Regarding the stagnant conditions that much of Europe has experienced in the last 12 months fleets of 50 tonne, 100 tonne and 150 tonne capacity mobile crawler cranes are expected to either stay the same or be reduced. This also applies to 100 tonne-metre tower cranes. One respondent explains the reasons behind this as, “Since building activities are decreasing, the demand for mobile cranes is less then former years. Expectations are that the building market will stabilise but not grow (much) in the next two years”. For Spain, growth isn’t predicted for another “four to five years” but, as another respondent says, “There is hope that this will change as soon as possible.”

For the rest of the world, investment plans over the next twelve months look promising, especially in the Middle East, where plans of fleet expansion of 50 tonne and 100 tonne capacity mobile cranes are expected. In Asia Pacific fleets with 50 tonne capacity wheeled mobile cranes and 150 tonners have planned investments. After the subsequent rise in utilisation rates, fleets with 100 tonne-metre tower cranes in South Asia are also expecting an investment.

The general feeling, however, is that most rental companies around the world will simply be staying put with what they’ve got until conditions change and the only real plans for equipment fleet renewal so far are in the USA.

2013 utilisation rates for 50 tonne mobile cranes compared to 2012:

Last year utilisation rates for 50 tonne capacity wheeled mobile cranes in the Middle east were up by more than 10% compared to previous years. This year the usage of 50 tonne capacity wheeled mobile cranes is up 1 to 10%. The same is for 100 tonne capacity mobile cranes. According to last year’s results, the utilisation rates for 50 tonne capacity wheeled mobile cranes in Europe were spread evenly, with around 18% of partakers saying that they had experienced more than a 10% increase; another quarter of respondents said the situation had stayed the same.

This year, according to the feedback received, almost a third of respondents from Europe have noticed a fall from 1 to 10% in utilisation rates but, fortunately, 15% of respondents said the situation had remained about the same and will continue to do so at a steady pace in the next 12 months.

2013 investment plans for fleets around the world compared to 2012:

Last year investment plans for fleet upgrades and expansion for 50 tonne capacity crawler cranes was at a stalemate, with only a third of companies around the world intending to either renew or expand their fleets; the rest stayed the same. This year however, fleet expansions in areas of the Middle East, Australasia and across America are expected for 50 tonne capacity wheeled mobile cranes. The remaining regions plan to remain with what they’ve got and more than half of the companies from Europe that took part in our survey are planning to reduce their fleets in 2013.

For 150 tonne crawler cranes, 2012 saw that globally nearly a quarter of companies who took part in the survey had no plans to increase or renew their fleets, and many planned to stay the same. This year however, companies in Australasia have plans to expand their fleets, while the remaining regions of the world plan to stay the same. Fortunately no one seems to be planning to reduce their fleets of 150 tonne crawler cranes in 2013.

Latest News
Hy-Brid Lifts appoints new CEO
Jay Sugar rejoins parent company Custom Equipment as president and CEO, following a brief stint in 2019 
San Diego open for business, says NDA
2022 Convention and Expo takes place in February; registration now open
Tiltrotator specialist sets up in South Korea
Sweden-based Engcon establishes new company in bid to sell outside ‘saturated’ Nordic markets