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Tue 25 Mar 2008 05:46 PM

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Used or useless?

Just a year ago, managers faced a decision when it came to choosing what machines to buy. Roughly, these amounted to new or used - and then Asian or European.

Just a year ago, managers faced a decision when it came to choosing what machines to buy. Roughly, these amounted to new or used - and then Asian or European.

Today however, the situation has changed. Almost all manufacturers - or at least all those that anybody has heard of - now have waiting lists spiraling out of control.

The knock-on effect is that used machines are fetching much higher prices and just about anything and everything is bought. In this issue you can read about a thirty-year old tower crane that had worked all its life fetched more than US $60,000, while elsewhere you can find out how Volvo Construction deal with their reported year long lead times by placing a heavier emphasis on solutions, so the gear is delivered throughout the duration of a project.

Even the well-resourced Dubai Metro project isn't exempt from equipment shortages, with the plant manager resorting to buying used rough terrain cranes from all four corners of the earth.

All good news for those selling or renting the gear, but it will become something of a problem for the smaller contractor. At the moment, any old machine is being welded up so it might go on for a little longer, while it is entirely possible that extra new equipment is being ordered by the bigger guy, just to be on the safe side.

Ultimately, this will lead to a rise in costs which in turn will be passed on to the client. It also means ever more bizarre and specialist machines will find their way into the region from all four corners of the globe. That again is bad for those trying to find spare parts, but good for those of us sad enough to try and spot unusual types of machines. Low-ground pressure Link Belt anyone?

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