The company is well ensconced in the Gulf, having supplied its proven products over a long time
US-based Manitowoc Cranes is expanding its sales footprint in the GCC region beyond Saudi Arabia, which has for long been its main market, and is confident of growth, its regional representative says.
David Semple, vice president for Middle East sales, believes the overall business environment following the economic downturn is much more positive and optimistic. “We’re seeing an acceleration of the number of orders taken in the region,” he says.
“After the 2009-2012 period where the bulk of our business in the GCC was done in one market, Saudi Arabia, we are now seeing the ‘coming back’ of smaller countries such as Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait,” Semple noted. “Overall our prospects are very good in the GCC.”
Semple says Manitowoc supplies a few hundred cranes every year to the GCC area across its product range, the end users being parties from the public and private sectors, major construction companies, crane rental firms and companies in industries including oil and gas.
Manitowoc features products including Grove mobile telescoping cranes, Manitowoc lattice boom crawler cranes, Potain tower cranes, National Crane boom trucks and Shuttlelift industrial cranes in its range. Manitowoc-lattice-boom crawler cranes, Potain tower cranes, Grove mobile hydraulic cranes and National Crane telescoping cranes are built, sold and serviced at multiple locations on five continents.
“For maximum functionality and value, nearly all Manitowoc products are engineered as modular base units, available with add-on components that can be added to expand their role. Finally, each product has been designed with features that meet the requirements of differing regions, including international transportation regulations, operational simplicity and efficient performance in even the most challenging environments,” a company statement says.
“Manitowoc has been committed to the Middle-East for a very long time; as much during the good as during the bad times,” Semple says. “We have developed strong experience and agility at following the market needs of the region, as much in the way we manage our teams and people, as in the products we offer the markets. There is no specific focus for the products we offer in the region. Most of our product ranges have been used in the GCC for a long time and we offer specifications and features on these products that are well suited to the local environment.
“We have established distributors – many of them in place for some decades – who are constantly ordering cranes for stock. Beyond the ‘standard cranes’ which are common on many jobsites (rough terrain between 30 and 90 tonnes capacity; three- to five-axle all-terrain cranes; saddle-jib tower cranes in the 175 to 310 tonnes class) we supply some more unusual cranes ordered for more specific applications. It’s difficult to give more details without getting into long and cumbersome lists of customers and machines …”
JEBEL ALI OFFICE
Manitowoc has a fully-owned Middle East subsidiary in Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, employing some 35 staff in support of more than 15 distributors over an extended Middle-East region going beyond the GCC as far as Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan. In the GCC alone, the company relies on five strong distributors, most operating in more than one location: Kanoo, Mannai, Equipment Company, Arabian Crane Services, and NFT. “These companies have been dealing with us for some decades and have developed a strong competence for the sales and after-sales of our products, and Manitowoc can probably boast of one of the best distribution networks in the crane industry,” commented Semple.
Headquartered in Wisconsin (US), Manitowoc has most of its R&D power spent on crane repowering in order to comply with Europe’s or the US’s ever stricter regulations on engine emissions. “Unfortunately and paradoxically,” notes Semple, “the availability of ‘clean’ ultra-low sulfur diesel is not very good in the Gulf, so the results of these efforts are not yet visible in the region where we continue to supply Tier 3/Euromot 3a powered machines. Whilst the crane industry in Europe or the US is very much driven by innovation and new crane features, GCC markets tend to prefer going for well-proven products, maybe with a bit less technology and more simplicity. The beauty of a worldwide manufacturer such as Manitowoc is that we can cater for every need: we are equally as strong in the ‘advanced’ mature markets as we are in the more developing ‘emerging markets’ with a product and service offering tailored to every situation.
Manitowoc’s mobile crane brand Grove celebrated landmark sales for two of its flagship all-terrain cranes. The company has built and sold 200 GMK6300Ls and 50 GMK6400s, making them the best-selling cranes in their class. Both cranes have sold at a remarkable rate since entering serial production in 2011 and 2013 respectively, making them two of the company’s greatest success stories.
The company marked these impressive milestones at an event at its manufacturing plant in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, where both the GMK6300L and GMK6400 are built.