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Cargo Handling

Mobile harbour cranes down, but not out

Last year was hardly a vintage year for mobile harbour cranes (MHCs), and the sector suffered along with many other materials handling equipment sectors be- cause of the global economic downturn.

This can be clearly seen in the

figures for Demag Cranes AG, the parent company of Gottwald Port Technology GmbH, one of the “big two” rope hoist mobile harbour crane makers.

Demag’s fiscal year runs 4Q-3Q,

so its 2008-9 figures coincide with the worst of the downturn. Group order intake fell by 36.4% and group revenue was 14.5% down on 2007-8 at €1.0476B, but this fig- ure was within the €1-1.1B range forecast by management during the year. On the upside, restructuring negotiations with the unions were concluded and group integration is continuing. Gottwald was particularly badly

hit, with order intake down by 52.1% to €151.1M. At the end of 2008-9 the

Gottwald order book stood at €69.4M compared to €121.7M at the end of 2007-8. No details were dis- closed, although the annual report noted that towards the end of 2008- 9 order intake for MHCs “stabilised at a low level.” Gottwald’s revenue fell by 37.3%

is concentrated at its facilities at Düsseldorf-Benrath in Germany. Demag is a strong group and will

weather the economic crisis. Gottwald’s customer relations man- ager Peter Klein stresses that the company is continuing with its prod- uct development programme and R&D, including its market-leading rail-mounted portal and floating (pontoon) cranes derived from its proven MHCs. To date all the deriva- tive cranes have been employed in bulk handling applications.

He adds that Gottwald, as a

provider of integrated systems, can take on planning and consulting tasks for new and expanding terminals. Turnkey solutions can be provided to include not only MHCs, but also ancillary equipment such as hoppers and conveyor belts in bulk terminals.

Market share

EU-744-STS Cranes 178x254M3 10.02.2010 11:47 Uhr Seite 1

Liebherr shipped a total of 74 MHCs in 2009. This number was 27% down on its deliveries in 2008, but the com-

pany claims that the total MHC mar- ket dropped around 40% last year. During the period 2005-8

Liebherr’s MHC’s deliveries in- creased on average by 24%/year, 16% more than the overall market growth. Liebherr claims that its own performance in 2009, a year of “ex- traordinary global economic turbu- lence,” means that it increased it share of the MHC market to more than 60%. Liebherr’s deliveries to the Euro- pean market were down 31% last

year, with Spain, the biggest single market for MHCs in recent years, led by strong demand for 4-rope grab- bing cranes, hardly registering at all in Liebherr’s figures. However, the Russian market was above average and accounted for 15 cranes. Accord- ing to Liebherr this made Russia the biggest single market for MHCs in 2009. Like Gottwald, Liebherr says that

technology remains central to its MHCs and it says it is set to increase efforts to provide customised solu-

to €204M and its operating EBIT of 2007-8 of €22.1M became an oper- ating loss in 2008-9 of €14.8M. Serv- ices revenue for Demag across the board was down by 9.5% to €297.7M as lower crane utilisation meant lower demand for spare parts.

Reference points

In calendar 2008 Liebherr-Werk Nenzing passed Gottwald in output of MHCs for the first time. Sometime in the spring of 2009, Demag’s management, under pressure from nervous investors, decided not to provide references for market surveys any more, with the result that the MHC sector now lacks transparency. Liebherr has continued to supply

its MHC references, but the group is privately-owned and is not subject to the same disclosure rules as Demag; so the market has always lacked fi- nancial transparency. As part of its integration strategy

Demag previously disclosed that it might leverage its production facili- ties in different parts of the world to build certain Gottwald products, such as small- and medium-size MHCs. However, as yet no detailed information is available and for the time being all Gottwald’s production

The Sennebogen Green Line 870R HD in action with Cemex by the River Thames

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