Tuesday, November 18, 2014

As Global Bulk Freight and Container Shipping Grows Liebherr Mobile Harbour Cranes Break Record

Versatile Workhorses Celebrate Forty Years of Continuing Success
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRIA – FRANCE – GERMANY – WORLDWIDE – Exactly forty years after delivering its first ever mobile harbour crane (LHM) Liebherr Maritime Cranes is about to set a new record in terms of annual deliveries and annual turnover for the versatile beasts. In 1974, when Liebherr entered the market, demand for mobile harbour cranes was small, as bulk freight and container shipping traffic developed so demand for these reliable workhorses grew and after twenty years of moderate but constant business, Liebherr accomplished their 100th LHM delivery in 1994. The same year marks a significant turnaround, with annual deliveries being double-digit for the first time, until two years ago in 2012, Liebherr achieved a major milestone, delivering their 1000th mobile harbour crane to the Montoir Bulk Terminal in France.

With a remarkable and exponential increase in demand, today Liebherr has supplied more than 1,200 units to nearly 100 countries all over the world. While it took 31 years to sell the first 500 Liebherr mobile harbour cranes, the next 500 have been accomplished in less than seven years which the manufacturer says is testament to the enduring increase in demand for flexible cargo handling solutions. Matthias Mungenast, Sales Director for Liebherr mobile harbour cranes explained why he feels the brand has been so successful:

“Liebherr managed to achieve a significant rise in deliveries of mobile harbour cranes, despite the fact that the world economy grows only moderately. This year, we expect our market share to be in the range of 70%, underlining our market-leading position. Our customers highly value the quality of our products and our ambitions to continuously improve productivity through innovation. The balanced mixture of new and follow-up orders confirms the outstanding competitiveness of our products as well as the high satisfaction level of existing customers.”

Different markets worldwide have taken up the concept at different rates and this year Europe, traditionally the strongest region, has again heavily invested in the versatility of Liebherr mobile harbour cranes. In Germany, the strongest mobile harbour crane available in the market, type LHM 600, has recently started operation for Wallmann & Co., representing the fourth LHM unit in their cargo handling fleet. All in all, companies in not less than 13 European countries have received LHMs to boost their port operation this year.

The ongoing economic development in many African countries also stimulates demand for highly efficient port equipment. Earlier this year, Liebherr announced a major order intake. A purchasing association of Algerian port operators has opted for 20 Liebherr mobile harbour cranes. Thanks to this large mobile harbour crane order, the total number of LHMs delivered to Algeria nearly doubled and jumped to 43. Many more units were delivered to African countries, including Angola, Nigeria and Senegal.

Customers based in the Americas have invested in mobile harbour cranes on a high level throughout the year. Especially in Latin America, Liebherr experiences a rise in demand with more than 50 order intakes in only four years. In Peru, Callao S.A. has received two LHM 550s, which significantly increase container and bulk capacity in the port. The port has already had two LHM 550s in operation since 2012. Each of the four LHM 550s is equipped with Liebherr’s hybrid power booster Pactronic®. In 2014, further mobile harbour cranes were shipped to various countries, such as Brazil, Canada and Guatemala.

In Asia and Oceania the number of deliveries is also higher than expected at the beginning of the year. In India, Bothra Shipping Services operates five LHM units. This year, the company decided to double their existing LHM fleet, opting for five new machines. Two LHM 550s will be delivered in 2014 and a further three machines, type LHM 550, in 2015. More LHM units have been delivered to Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, amongst others.

Ports continue to purchase new cargo handling equipment in order to cope with growing volumes or due to modernisation processes. As a solid investment, mobile harbour cranes provide the flexibility and productivity many ports are looking for, their longevity and serviceability giving good asset value and credibility to a materials handling operation. Liebherr boasts that more and more ports opt for what they say is the most successful mobile harbour crane design in the market, which results in a well-filled order book and Liebherr is optimistic that the demand for its mobile harbour cranes will continue to be very high in the near future.

Part of the reason for the company’s success is simply the brand reliability coupled with the commitment to in-house research and development which has produced a number of new technologies which have driven the complete mobile harbour crane sector. This includes the modular design principle, advanced systems for tandem lifts and anti-sway as well as the award winning hybrid power booster Pactronic®. In 2013, the LiSIM® range of simulators for professional crane driver training was launched giving customers the option of either investing in their own simulator or up-skill their workforce in one of the Liebherr Maritime Crane training centres.

In June 2014, Liebherr launched the innovative SmartGrip® technology, which optimises grab filling rates in a self-learning manner. In the meantime, several cranes all over the world have already been equipped with SmartGrip®. Standing for more turnover, less stress and zero overloads, this technology is not only available for new cranes but also suitable for retrofits of existing cranes. Liebherr believes it is only by constantly extending the range and practicality of its LHM’s that it can remain the leader in this ever more essential sector.

Photo: Left - Fully assembled transport ensured that this LHM 600 for Wallmann & Co. was ready for operation right after arrival and Right - Five new LHM 550s will significantly increase Bothra Shipping Services’ bulk handling capacity.