Up for discussion: a review of the 2014 WCTS

09 December 2014

WCTS Miami

WCTS Miami

More than 260 people attended the fourth World Crane and Transport Summit (WCTS), held for the first time in Florida, USA, on 12 and 13 November.

Alan Barnhart, Barnhart Crane & Rigging chief executive officer, opened the WCTS in Miami with a keynote speech. Barnhart said the crane and transport industry should celebrate its record of innovation and profit generation, and recognise the importance and rewards of work.

“Work is not something you do to afford to do the good stuff in life. Work is part of the good stuff,” Barnhart told the audience at the Biltmore Hotel. “We should celebrate the innovation, the pofits, and the value they create - I think we should celebrate work.”

The two-day WCTS is organised by KHL Group and its magazines International Cranes and Specialized Transport and American Cranes & Transport.

Following Barnhart’s address, Jim Wiethorn of Haag Engineering outlined the results of an analysis of more than 500 crane accidents in North America. One finding was that 51 out of 147 fatalities were of persons not directly involved in the crane operation. Wiethorn said this illustrated the important role that site supervisors had in managing lifting operations.

Telematics and what the technology means for the industry was the topic of the next presentation, from Bill Stramer, Link-Belt vice president, marketing, sales and customer support. Customers are looking for a tool to track all of their equipment so that they can manage their entire fleet, they don’t want something that is brand-specific.

Also speaking on day one was Brent Wise, a captain in the Dallas Fire and Rescue Department and co-founder of Tech Safety Lines. TSL supplies training and equipment for fall protection and rescue from height. Bill Smith at insurance company NBIS discussed US regulations and the delay to the full implementation of the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. Also, Smith forecast that in future crane accidents there will be fewer cases of operator error but more among lift supervisors, appointed persons and so on.

Day two started with a spectacular project report detailing Fagioli’s involvement in the recovery of the cruise ship Costa Concordia from rocks off the coast of Italy. Mario Covino, Fagioli Group HSE and quality manager – Americas, explained the complicated operation.

An interesting joint presentation by Rüdiger Zollondz from Terex Cranes and Rainer Sasse from TII Group (Nicolas, Scheuerle, Kamag) clearly demonstrated the influence of developments in the oil and gas sector on the design both of heavy lifting and specialized transport equipment. Modules in this sector have hugely increased in size since 2005.

Gary McArdle from Rouse Services reported the state of the market in the USA and further afield in terms of crane sales and financial results. Scott Bragg, Bragg Companies vice president, followed up with a discussion on California’s business environment for cranes and heavy equipment, David Rodrigues, Makro Engenharia CEO, shared the view from Brazil, covering the issues on safety in the industry. Graham Brent, executive director, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, concluded the theme of safety with a presentation about the attitudes to safety, training and best practices in the USA.

New energy

The third session of the two-day event started with a presentation from Scott Hazelton, director, IHS Global Insight Construction and Manufacturing Industries Practice. Opening the energy, oil & gas section, Hazelton discussed the impact on construction equipment and cranes on the growth in gas shale energy exploration in North America. He also provided the audience with the latest forecasts on the return of the non-residential construction sector.

Following Hazelton was a round table discussion with Joseph Collins, Becht Engineering heavy lift manager; Joey Andrews, CITGO Petroleum lift planner; Keith Anderson, Bechtel chief rigging engineer; Frank Bardonaro, Maxim Crane president.

The event came to a close with a spectacular report on a world record load-out project, presented by Rodney Rather, ALE vice president.

The next World Crane and Transport Summit will be on 4 and 5 November 2015, returning to the Krasnapolsky hotel in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Keep up to date with developments with the event at www.khl.com/wcts and in IC magazine.

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