Bright prospects for mobile cranes
Mobile cranes in India have come a long way since being pioneered by Escorts about 40 years ago. Ajay Mandahr, CEO, Escorts Construction Equipment, reminisces that Escorts was the first to offer the Hydra range of cranes, which are capable of both lifting and carrying a load as against cranes that just lift and do not carry, and later introduced the Hi-PNC (new generation pick-‘n’-carry) crane. On the back of the great success of pick-‘n’-carry cranes, Escorts soon evolved into a leading player of mobile cranes globally.
Today, pick-‘n’-carry cranes and truck cranes are typically considered to make up the mobile cranes segment, which has been buoyant in the past two years, according to Pradeep Sharma, President, Action Construction Equipment. In the last year alone, he notes that mobile crane sales crossed the 11,000 unit mark, the highest ever in terms of volume. Sharma expects the demand for mobile cranes to touch all-time highs in coming years.
Mandahr reckons the annual demand for mobile cranes exceeds 10,000 units and expects this class to grow at a CAGR of 15-18 per cent over the next five to six years. According to him, infrastructure development, spanning roads, railways, etc, is the major driver of the market. “Mobile cranes also find use in the defence, industrial, housing and port-handling sectors. In future, we expect the housing sector to emerge as the next big driver to further propel this segment.”
Urban infrastructure such as metro projects across Tier-I and Tier-II cities; freight corridor, airport expansion and modernisation; Swachh Bharat and smart city projects; elevated roads, advanced rail networks and the upcoming bullet train project; infrastructure development including roads (Bharatmala), flyovers and bridges; and refinery expansion are driving the demand for mobile cranes, says Sharma.