More than 150 industry professionals from around the world are attending the one-day conference and networking event organised by International Cranes and Specialized Transport magazine, a KHL publication.
So far speakers have delved into the current and future health of the global construction and tower crane market and discussed the challenges facing major rental companies.
Chris Sleight, editor of IC’s sister-publication International Construction said world construction would grow by 4% in 2012, mainly thanks to emerging markets. However, Sleight added, greater growth has been held back by the debt crises in Europe, where the market is facing a -0.4% overall decline in 2012. Looking to the future, he said that global urbanisation, leading to 75% of the population living in cities by 2050, would provide great potential for the tower crane industry.
Dennis Bates, vice president of AmQuip tower crane division, in the USA, said tower crane rental in the country had turned a corner and is seeing growth, but there are still problems to be faced.
“Looking forward, It will be slow when it comes to purchasing new products, due to an uncertain future. We are recovering but not as fast as we would like.”
Duncan Salt, director and general manager at UK-based HTC plant, provided a similar, although slightly gloomier, view of the UK market. There are about 1,000 top slewing tower cranes in the UK, some 33% less than four years ago. But utilisation stands at 55 to 60% and rental rates are at 2005 levels.
The overall message from the conference, however, which continues throughout the day, culminating in a networking evening, has been a positive one.
Author; Euan Youdale