In June 2014, Liebherr introduced SmartGrip for its mobile harbor crane range. This unique technology operates as an intelligent system which optimises grab filling rates in a self-learning manner, says Sunil Kalra, Divisional Manager - Maritime Cranes, Liebherr India. Excerpts from the interview...
How has been your business performance in 2014?
Liebherr mobile harbour cranes set the benchmark in terms of annual deliveries, supplying as many cranes per year as no other manufacturer has ever delivered before. 2014 was a year of celebration for many reasons. Exactly forty years after the delivery of the first Liebherr mobile harbour crane (LHM), these advanced machines are more in demand than ever before.
In 2014, exactly 112 units have been supplied across the globe. In other words, throughout the year almost every third day a new Liebherr mobile harbour crane unit was delivered. This is the highest number of annual deliveries ever achieved by a mobile harbour crane manufacturer and clearly tops Liebherr Maritime Cranes´ old record when 102 units were supplied in 2008.
The Indian market is again an important reason for this success, 2014 was the second most successful ever in India. In total, more than 10 new Liebherr mobile harbour cranes have started operation in 2014.
What are your operational goals for 2015?
Considering volatile exchange rates and the slowly recovering economic climate, the 2014 results are really outstanding. However, we are convinced that the demand for Liebherr mobile harbour cranes will be on a high level in 2015 as well. Innovative and flexible cargo handling solutions are required across the globe. Moreover, we achieved a significant market share increase which will be in the range of 70 per cent in 2014. For that reason, one goal will be to defend and further develop our share in the market to equip as many ports as possible with the leading mobile harbor crane solution in the market.
Which are the major industry developments that have impacted your business in the past year?
Vessel sizes are growing bigger and bigger, which leads to new challenges for ports around the world due to the cascade effect. Suddenly, ports which are not located along the main routes are faced with the arrival of bigger vessels and need to invest in new equipment. For these ports, mobile harbour cranes represent a great solution as they - besides their efficiency - can ease capacity bottlenecks throughout the port, thanks to their mobility.
Please elaborate on the key trends that will drive the business next year.
The mobile harbour crane sector is a very innovative one. New technologies are introduced to the market on a regular base. In June 2014, Liebherr introduced SmartGrip for its mobile harbor crane range. This unique technology operates as an intelligent system which optimises grab filling rates in a self-learning manner. SmartGrip provides a number of valuable advantages, including higher performance and zero overloads. Today, cranes across the globe are already equipped with this game-changing technology. SmartGrip is the continuation of a history full of innovative technologies, including Pactronic and Sycratronic. In our opinion, innovation will also be a key success factor in the upcoming years.
What major challenges the industry will need to overcome in future?
Generally, growing vessel sizes are a challenge for the industry; ports have to invest in modern and highly efficient equipment to stay competitive. Investments may also include dredging. The reduction of port calls will be a challenge for the complete logistics sector.