Has the market for crawler cranes been affected by the turmoil on Wall Street? This question has been floating around crane manufacturing companies and crane rental companies lately, but a report from Essex Crane Rental Corporation says no. Well, not yet.
According to the report, demand for crawler cranes has remained steady during this economic downturn, especially demand for heavier 250+ ton machines. According to Jack Frendrick, vice president of Kobelco Cranes North America, “We can’t build enough of them” and Kobelco is not the only sold out crane company. “At this point no one seems to be saying ‘Hey we are not sure we want these machines” added Frendrick.
So what is the cause of this steady to increasing demand? Alternative energy tax credits. “Busy and booked out.” That’s how Andy Hodges, owner, of Oklahoma City-based Northwest Cranes describes the market for his company’s crawler cranes. “Our business is steady and continuing,” he says.
A few years back, Hodges and his team decided to shift gears and go after the wind development market. “We have focused on wind regionally in our area,” he says. “That’s what we’re geared up to do and it’s going very well for us. Our crawlers are working in various parts of the country on wind farms.”
Hodges says that the current economic problems have created an air of uncertainty throughout the crane and transport industry.
“Everyone is uncertain as to what affect the financial market will have on their business or their customers. Our business doesn’t run on that type of credit so we’re not affected. The times are quite unusual but it’s not affecting our business, or the demand for our crawlers”. He agrees with Fendrick that energy related work is fairly well insulated from recessionary times.
With likely the largest fleet of crawler cranes of any rental company in the US, Essex Crane Rental’s management team scrutinizes the market closely and often. According to William O’Rourke, vice president for the Chicago area based company, “We’re still seeing very strong demand for crawlers, especially in the 200-ton plus cranes. Primarily we’re putting these cranes in the power sector and the petrochemical and refining sectors.”
To read the complete report visit the Essex Cranes website.