Concord Cranes, a crane hire and specialised transport service company in the Industrial Services Holdings (InServe) stable, is diversifying into the heavy-lift market, as well as expanding its footprint in South Africa and on the continent.
The Concord Cranes group comprises Concord AngloV3 (Central South Africa), Concord Castle (Eastern and Western Cape), and Concord Elcon (KwaZulu-Natal), CEO Herman van Staden explains. Concord Namibia is located in Okahandja, covering the northern and central territories of that country, and represents the group’s first concerted foray into Africa.
The group’s 170-crane fleet has just been boosted with the acquisition of a new 750 t crane, which gives it a significant advantage in the heavy-lift sector, van Staden points out. The fleet comprises hydraulic mobile cranes, which includes all-terrain cranes, rough-terrain cranes, truck cranes, and tower cranes, with underhook height capabilities of up to 145 m.
Market segments include cellular, civil, steel erection, construction, engineering, film production assistance, mining, petrochemical, ports, steel, and wind farms. “We are a preferred provider of professional, compliant lifting services customised according to our clients’ specific needs. Our fit-for-purpose lifting services are combined with exceptional technical support and safety and regulatory compliance, hence our ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001 accreditations,” van Staden elaborates.
The new 750 t crane is presently based at Concord Castle in Port Elizabeth, due to pre-delivery commitments to certain bridge- and harbor-related projects in the Eastern Cape region. Concord MHL (Materials Handling Logistics) is also involved intensively in assisting with the logistics of moving the 750 t crane from one site to the next.
This gives the group a significant heavy-lift capability in the burgeoning wind-farm sector in the Western and Eastern Cape. However, it is anticipated that the new 750 t crane will ultimately be deployed as far afield as Limpopo Province.
“We took a strategic decision to start out by acquiring certain businesses in order to obtain cranes at a premium, the associated client base, and the key expertise involved. Our business is essentially on wheels, and so this has meant an expanding footprint. This gives the group the flexibility to adapt quickly to both market fluctuations and changing client needs.
“We have more cranes to fall back on in the event of a shortfall in any area. We select our crane stock with the aim to protect our margins, cover our costs and not over-capitalise, and to service our clients’ needs in terms of offering total lifting solutions,” van Staden explains.
A key focus is the redistribution of existing assets in order to improve the utilisation rate, which also expands the group’s client base and gives it added visibility in a highly competitive market. “There are definitely still opportunities out there, especially in logistics. We want to get our name out there and use our service and aftermarket support as a key sales tool.”
Van Staden reveals that the group will be expanding its sales force as it strives to increase its market share both locally and in Africa. “In the long term, we want to identify clients we can grow with as they venture further afield into the continent. We are open to expanding our branch network as well, as these are relatively quick to set up and equip.”
What gives Concord Cranes the leading edge in the market is its comprehensive service offering and technical expertise, combined with quality equipment and experience. “We also comply with all of the necessary regulations. From a technical point of view, we are right up there with the best,” van Staden asserts.
With the infrastructure and construction sectors constrained by cost-cutting and a lack of government spending, van Staden stresses that aftermarket support increasingly becomes the main market differentiator.
“We also have a good feel for the market, and can adapt accordingly. Our cost structure is also very good, and we focus on proactive maintenance in order to minmise downtime for our clients, which helps boost their bottom line, and enables them to focus on their core business,” van Staden concludes.