By Sean Cronin
Lead times lengthen and the cost of second-hand kit rockets after rising UAE demand
Record construction activity in Dubai has sent the cost of mobile cranes soaring by up to 30% this year, while delivery times for some tower cranes has hit 14 months.
Contractors from Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are also descending on the emirate to hunt for machinery.
The trend has pushed up the price of second-hand kit as contractors and hire companies are willing to buy older cranes to keep up with demand.
A spokesman for Al Wasit Machinery said that prices for some models of mobile cranes in the second-hand market had increased by between 20% to 30% over the course of the year.
In the mobile crane sector, 90% of new cranes being imported into the market are going direct to the hire companies, leaving little available for other buyers, and leading to price hikes.
Bernd Wittenberg of the Dubai office of crane giant Liebherr, said: “Certainly, second- hand mobile cranes are becoming a bit of a problem.
“And for new mobile cranes we have delivery times of between six and 14 months. If you order a 70-tonner today, you will get it in September next year,” he added.
The hire market has also been hit, with many crane hire companies being forced to turn potential customers away.
“There is a huge shortage of cranes and there are people coming from Oman, Bahrain and Qatar hunting for cranes.“Because of the demand, many buyers are not as fussy about the make or model,” said Arty Wartanian, general manager of Gallagher International. “I am sorry to say we have to turn people away everyday.”
Manufacturers are now increasing capacity in a bid to keep pace with soaring demand from the UAE construction sector.
“The market here for tower cranes is extremely demanding and no manufacturer today has enough capacity in their factories to meet that demand,” says David Semple, sales director for Manitowoc Crane Group, which owns Potain.
In a bid to keep pace, Potain has increased its manufacturing capacity for tower cranes by a massive 50% in its French factory over the course of 2005, and is also opening a new factory in China, which will double production.
But despite these increases in manufacturing capacity, Semple says they’re still far from being able to meet the requirements of Dubai. The result is the market is opening its doors to new suppliers.
“For a market which used to be dominated by only two crane manufacturers — ourselves and Liebherr — it is now a much more open ground for other players. Italian manufacturers are now supplying all the cranes at the Dubai airport expansion and the Chinese are also coming in; in the UAE they sold 59 tower cranes in 2005.”