Raman Joshi, Executive Vice-President, Manitowoc Cranes, Greater Asia-Pacific
Overall, this year will be good for mobile cranes in India. For us, the key will be building our support network and ensuring we are well-positioned for the opportunities that come along in 2014.
This year's outlook for mobile crane sales across the Greater Asia-Pacific region remains uncertain but we are optimistic that in India, we will see some positive signs in 2014. In particular, by the third quarter of this year, we are expecting levels of interest to convert into higher levels of sales. At present, there's still a good degree of caution among rental companies and contractors in our region and the continuing fluctuation in financial markets here and worldwide, is affecting people's confidence.
We have developed our Grove product range, both GMK all-terrain cranes and RT rough terrain cranes. The new levels of strength, reach and productivity we are able to offer means that crane users can easily see the advantages that these latest generation machines offer on the job site. But converting that goodwill into deliveries is likely to take several more months.
Despite the erratic nature of India's economic growth, it is continuing in the right direction and we remain optimistic about the opportunities that are out there. Numerous large infrastructure projects are pressing ahead, each of which will improve the country's ability to operate more efficiently in business terms. We are proud to say that Grove mobile cranes are helping many of these projects along.
For example, on the Gujarat road expansion project, we have two of our GMK5170 all-terrain cranes providing a variety of lifting work for the heavier parts of the project. The five-axle, 170 T capacity GMK5170 is one of the most popular Grove models in India. The units in Gujarat are split between the two parts of the project: the first section, which runs between Nadidad and Modafa and the second project, which comprises a four-lane highway running from Ahmedabad to Godhra.
Another major road project featuring Grove cranes is in Rajasthan, where two Grove GMK6300L cranes are working on the Pali-Beawar-Pindwara road project highway development job. The GMK6300L is an international success story and crane users in India have been quick to understand the advantages offered by this machine. With 300 T of maximum capacity and 80 m of main boom, the crane can take on a huge range of tasks that would otherwise require a much larger crane, or a costly and time-consuming jib set-up. The Grove GMK6300L raced to 100 sales in a little over 12 months and this year, the 200th unit will be delivered. In India, Shri Dinesh Cranes, based in Thane, has the first two models to enter the country.
Aside from road building, Grove all-terrain cranes are also working on another major transport infrastructure job, the Chennai Metro, specifically on Phase 1 of this huge construction job. Here, there are ten of our Grove RT700E rough-terrain cranes. These 65 T capacity units are workhorses and at the heart of much of the building and tunnelling work on the project.
Elsewhere, there are a range of our GMK5220 all-terrain cranes working on energy and mining jobs throughout India. The biggest population of these 220 T capacity units is at the famous Reliance refinery in Jamnagar, where ten units are assisting with a variety of roles. At the SECL mine in Chhattisgarh, there are two more units, while in Karnataka, there is a further model at the Jindal steel plant.
Also, Manitowoc recently added the most powerful six-axle crane in the world to its product list, the Grove GMK 6400. Outstanding features include:
The GMK6400 delivers outstanding lift capability with its self-rigging MegaWingLift system, particularly when combined with the luffing jib. It combines weight-saving technology and unique design concepts to be both more fuel-efficient and highly manoeuverable and it not only challenges the capabilities of seven-axle cranes, in many areas it outperforms them. Manitowoc conducted extensive `Voice of the Customer` exercises to see what users wanted most from a six-axle crane and that research lead to the development of the award-winning Grove GMK6400. The first GMK6400s were delivered in July 2012 and the crane is already a hit. It has four standout innovations which differentiate it from others in this class. Each contributes to the crane's superior performance.
For us as manufacturers, I believe that the support we are able to offer customers through Manitowoc Crane Care is just as important as the products themselves. When you have a crane such as the GMK6300L, which sells at such a pace, it's clear that the machine has capabilities that our customers need. But their decision to buy future GMK6300Ls will probably be based on the parts and service support we provide to those cranes, rather than the machines' on-site performance. Over the past ten years, we have steadily developed our dealer network for parts and service support and we can now offer nationwide coverage for Manitowoc Crane Care in India. But we're not finished with developing this service network. In fact, I don't think it will ever be finished. If we are to maintain our market leading position for mobile cranes, then our ability to offer the best available customer support to our fleet of Grove cranes in India will be a key factor in determining whether or not we succeed.
Overall, I'm confident that this year will be good for mobile cranes in India. At Manitowoc, we have a great team led by Prem Naithani, our national sales manager for mobile and crawler cranes. We also have some great products sold through a strong dealer network. So for us, the key will be building our support network and ensuring we are well-positioned for the opportunities that come along in 2014.
For us, the key will be building our support network and ensuring we are well-positioned for the opportunities that come along in 2014.