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Sat 9 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Worldwide demand takes a heavy toll on deliveries

Delivery time for construction machinery in the UAE could take up to three years for heavy equipment such as cranes and dredgers, according to a rental equipment company in Dubai.

Delivery time for construction machinery in the UAE could take up to three years for heavy equipment such as cranes and dredgers, according to a rental equipment company in Dubai.

Bob de Weerd, managing director of ITC Heavy Equipment said: "Infrastructure work won't be a problem as this kind of work needs smaller machines which are easily available. The problem is with heavy equipment - the delivery time for a 100m to 200m crane is about three years.

De Weerd added that large mining trucks were being imported from Indonesia to meet the demand and that a 200-tonne mining truck would have at least a two-and-a- half year delivery time.

"Manufacturing these machines isn't getting any easier either," said Weerd. "The price of steel is rising sharply, which makes the trucks more expensive.

The construction sector is also competing with industries such as gold, oil and copper for essential equipment.

"All gold, oil and copper mines around the world use these trucks and with the construction sector being at the bottom of the food chain, these industries get precedence over us."

Weerd added that major global projects, such as the widening of the Panama Canal, are also having an impact on equipment supply to the Middle East.

Demand for construction-related machinery, equipment and vehicles is expected to continue to rise in the Middle East, especially in the UAE, due to a series of new project announcements.

Al Bahar, the Caterpillar dealer in the region, faces similar problems with acquiring machinery.

“Its very difficult to pin point ex-factory delivery times but for cranes it could go anywhere from between one to three years,” said Sudhir Tripathi, General Construction Industry Manager at Al-Bahar.

“While equipments like forklifts and construction equipment would be available within three months to a year. This situation has come about because of the global shortage where world wide demand for machinery just rocketed and no one was prepared for it.

"Also compounding the situation is that in our industry it is not easy to ramp up production suddenly due to the materials that are needed. Also companies are reluctant to open new production factories in case this demand is temporary leaving their new facilities redundant. Manufacturing facilities are a big investment.”

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