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The more the merrier

The mobile harbour crane market is becoming increasingly competitive.

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The market for mobile harbour cranes (MHCs) and derivative cranes (on rail portals or mounted on pontoons) has arguably never been as competitive as it is today, and more is set to come. This is due to both new entrants in the MHC field and technical innovations from the hydraulic boom/stick crane sector, challenging parts of the market normally associated with ‘classic’ rope hoist MHCs.


Going back around 10 years, there were four established rope hoist MHC suppliers known to Bulk Materials International, with Reggiane and Italgru as the third and fourth players. Latterly, there have been three, with Gottwald and Liebherr leading the field, and with Italgru as a ‘third force’ occupying a niche position. Now, we must think in terms of five suppliers in the classic MHC market.

Chinese challenge


The ‘fourth company’ is China’s Nantong Rainbow Heavy Industries Co Ltd, which markets its MHCs (and rail portal variants) under the Genma brand name. This line of cranes is outwith Rainbow’s strategic agreement with Cargotec for Kalmar port cranes, and is developed, sold and marketed separately. Rainbow also offers its own gantry grab unloaders and dedusting hoppers, along with continuous bulk handling products – scraper and bucket type shipunloaders and mobile ship loaders.

Genma recently reported a new order from J M Baxi group in India to supply three of its model GHC100 MHCs for operation in Paradip port, where they will be operated by J M Baxi affiliate Paradip International Cargo Terminal Pvt Ltd. This facility can work vessels up to 125,000 dwt, and handles a range of breakbulk and bulk cargoes, including steel, aluminium block, chemical fertiliser, grain, sugar, and so on. The GHC100 design has a maximum hook load of 100t out to 20m, and outreach is from 10m to 48m.

According to Genma’s marketing manager, Crystal Pan, the order followed an open tender including “some top players in this field”. She says Genma won the order after performance checks by the customer and site visits to existing customer operations. Two GHC100s were earlier delivered to Myanmar Industrial Port in Yangon, Myanmar.


With the Baxi order, Genma will increase its references to nine cranes, ranging in capacity from 63t to 200t. As a newcomer to the market, Genma is only just starting to make an impact. However, given how Chinese companies have risen to prominence in other port crane fields, its presence gives the MHC sector, traditionally dominated by Europe-based companies, a completely new dynamic, and it will thus be interesting to see how the market evolves in the next few years.

Marketing from Shanghai and with manufacturing, technology and R&D activities based in Nantong, Genma also has sales and service points in Singapore, India and Canada, along with various agents in Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East.


The ‘fifth supplier’ in the classic MHC market looks set to be Sennebogen. The German crane maker already offers rope-driven MHCs, but the jib is low pivot, and the company is better-known for its range of hydraulic (or electric drive) boom/stick materials handlers and balance cranes, ranging from 11t to 300t self-weight.

In a dramatic departure, Sennebogen has come up with a new MHC model with a tower, high mount jib and cabin. This is designated 9300 E, which is being officially launched at this year’s Transport Logistic Fair in Munich (9-12 May). At the time of writing, no performance details have been released. However, Sennebogen said the crane will give “port operators a new, high-quality alternative for container handling on the market”.


It added: “Similarly, the mobile port crane will present an interesting solution for all ports that handle mass or general goods with ships up to around 100,000 dwt. With its large reach, feeder and standard ships are handled in container handling as well as Handysize ships for bulk cargo handling.” Sennebogen added that it is working on various projects for the new 9300E with ports in different regions.

Enter the 300


Unlike Genma and Sennebogen, the ‘sixth company’ has not entered the classic rope hoist MHC market, but instead is challenging it with bigger and bigger hydraulic (or electric) boom/stick cranes. Over the past few years, Finland-based Mantsinen Oy has developed a range of materials handlers purpose-built for and dedicated to port applications. These offer a range of capacities and outreaches to suit barge and ship handling applications, mostly with a fuel-saving hybrid drive fitted as standard, and they are all available on rubber tyres, rails or crawlers, or on a fixed platform.

For the past few years, the ‘flagship’ crane has been the Mantsinen 200 HybriLift. Just to give an example of its capabilities and versatility, this is used to handle coal and ore in Germany, scrap, steel products and containers in Antwerp, while in the UK, ABP Garston now has a crane that can work vessels of more than 7,000 dwt with ease, and ABP can use it to work any vessel that can pass through the Garston sea lock (max. beam 19.2m, max. length 152m).

David Cooper of Cooper SH, Mantsinen’s British Isles sole distributor and service partner, said that the 200M HybriLift supplied (as part of an order worth £6M for various Mantsinen cranes for different ABP ports) is the only materials handler of ropeless, hydraulic design that satisfies ABP Garston’s requirement to handle a 25t load plus attachment weight from the far side of the widest vessel that can call at the port. It thus combines the capacity of a traditional small/medium MHC with the fast cycling (precise spotting, positive digging) of a ropeless hydraulic crane.


The benchmark figure is 1,000 tph, but this is an allcargo average, and actual rates may be much higher according to the cargo being handled. The crane, installed and commissioned by Mantsinen and Cooper SH, is supplied with two 10 m3 clamshell buckets, one 40t capacity coil clamp and one 50t capacity anchor hook, all of Mantsinen’s own design, along with Mantsinen’s “quick-hitch” MC720 rotator, which enables attachments to be changed in around 2 minutes.


A major thrust


In its latest development, however, Mantsinen has broken its own record by launching the 300, and is thus pushing the faster and more precise hydraulic jib/stick crane concept even further into the size class of traditional rope cranes. Its “positive digging” capabilities will enable “the fastest work cycle on the market and the best productivity in its size class”, said marketing director Mia Mantsinen.

The Mantsinen 300 is designed to meet the requirements of moving bulk cargo on Panamax class ships, but it can also handle heavy general cargo and containers. For example, the crane is able to move a full 40ft container around 48m without having to change position.

A next-generation or “Mark 2” HybriLift energy recovery system has been developed and patented for the Mantsinen 300. The system is said to improve energy efficiency further than ever before, even in large cranes.


The Mantsinen 300 is available with a diesel engine (and HybriLift) or an electric motor. Again, the undercarriage can be chosen and optimised according to the client’s needs. The options include undercarriages with tracks, rubber tyres, rails or a fixed platform. Mantsinen designs and manufactures its own attachments, which it says are optimised for all kinds of uses and for any machine type.


The first two Mantsinen 300s will be delivered in the summer of 2017 to customers in Ghent and Antwerp in Belgium. Both handlers will move different kinds of bulk materials on Panamax class ships. They are likely to be rubber-tyred cranes (‘M’ suffix). Certainly in Antwerp, the busy crane rental market lends itself to mobility, as the cranes can be transferred relatively easily from one customer to another.


The Mantsinen 300 HybriLift has a self-weight of 320-400t according to undercarriage type. Maximum reach is 38m, and it is fitted with a 565 kW diesel engine (400 kW HybriLift as standard) or 355 kW electric motor.


As stated, the 300 encroaches still deeper into classic rope hoist MHC territory. It will be marketed as “the crane with the capacity of an MHC and the cycle time of a materials handler”, combining the benefits of both crane concepts in a single machine.


Of course, the established MHC suppliers are not ‘standing still’. The Terex MHPS business, acquired by Konecranes at the start of this year, includes all Gottwald harbour cranes (but not materials handlers from Terex Fuchs, which was never a part of MHPS).


Recognising the inherent strengths based on an engineering-led approach similar to its own, Konecranes is likely to retain indefinitely the Gottwald brand name. Terex saw it as a “transitionary” brand, through “TerexGottwald”.


Recent orders and deliveries (some while still part of Terex MHPS) include the commissioning of a fourth four-rope G HMK 6407 B (51m outreach, 50t grab curve and max. hook lift of 100t) for Spain’s multi-ports and multibulks handling specialist and long-standing customer (since 1997) Ership SA, following three commissioned a year earlier, in December 2015. The cranes were fully assembled in Antwerp and then shipped erect to Spain.


The first ‘G5’ Gottwald MHC is due to be supplied shortly to Japan, with the delivery of a Gottwald Model 2 G HMK 2204 MHC in tworope variant, via Chikuho Seisakusho Co Ltd, to the Port of Otake on the Seto inland sea. It will handle mainly containers and general cargo, and, for this purpose, has been adapted to Japanese requirements with a maximum lifting capacity of 62t, an outreach of up to 40m and a maximum lifting speed of 85m/min. It is equipped with a second, specially developed load display in order to meet Japanese safe load indicator regulations. In the past 13 years, nine G4 HMK 170E
cranes, the predecessor of the Model 2, have gone to Japan, and they are all still in service.


Gijón job


Elsewhere in Spain, Gottwald recently supplied a four-rope G HSK (rail portalmounted) crane to EBHISA in Gijón. This was a replacement for a gantry grab unloader that had been damaged beyond repair by a storm, and, in the interim, EBHISA had been renting an MHC from another local operator.


The gantry grab unloader had an integral hopper, which, of course, is not possible with a single jib slewing crane, and EBHISA also ordered a railtravelling dedusting hopper from Spain’s Talleres Silva SA.

The crane has a portal rail span of 22m, and the load capacity (grab plus load) is 50t at 30m outreach. Average through-the-ship productivity is expected by EBHISA to be in the 1,200 tph range. EBHISA set aside a budget of €9M for this equipment – €5.5M for the new Gottwald crane and €3.5M for the hopper. Other bidders for the project were Liebherr, Kranunion and PHB.

With Gottwald on board, Konecranes now matches Liebherr for line-up of discontinuous handling equipment for the quayside, and it gains a similar manufacturing footprint, to challenge Liebherr’s own ‘in-house build’ credentials. Liebherr and Konecranes Gottwald will likely remain the foremost MHC suppliers for many years to come.

Regular business

On the Gulf of Mexico, Liebherr has just assembled two new LHM 420s in Altamira for Bredero Shaw International BV, for general cargo and container handling. The units, which feature a 48m boom and a maximum lifting capacity of up to 124t, will also be equipped with a special pipe-handling attachment, and a camera system will be installed on the attachment to improve sight of the load.

Last November, Aveiport, the ETE company operating in Aveiro, Portugal, took delivery of a new Liebherr LHM 280, with a maximum hook lift of 84t and an outreach between 10m and 40m. In Italy, CPM Monfalcone, part of T O Delta, recently took delivery of a new Liebherr LHM 550 MHC, with a maximum hook lift of 150t, an outreach of up to 54m, and a lifting speed of up to 120 m/min. The crane, shipped erect from Rostock on board SAL’s CALYPSO, is used mainly to handle steel slabs, various steel products, forestry pulp and project cargoes.

Other customers for the LHM 550 model in 2016 included the Port of Helsingborg (one crane) and Container Terminal St Petersburg (CTSP), part of UCL Holdings (two cranes). All three cranes are equipped with cable management systems so they can use shore power as their main operating mode, while maintaining the flexibility to move around and the back-up of the diesel hydraulic genset.

The Helsingborg crane is fitted with a twin 20ft spreader, and is also used to handle project cargo and special lifts. It was shipped fully assembled by barge from the Liebherr facility in Rostock.

The two cranes for Russia were shipped ready for immediate use from Rostock by MERI (Finland’s Meri Shipping). They are equipped with low-voltage cables to suit the terminal’s power network.

The cranes are of four-rope configuration, to provide multi-functionality. Although they mainly handle containers (the scope of supply included two spreaders), they can be quickly fitted with a mechanical grab to handle, for example, aluminium oxide. To ease the handling of bigger vessels, the cranes are fitted with a 4.8m tower extension piece, raising the height of the tower cabin accordingly. There are many Liebherr MHCs in St Petersburg, so CTSP can tap into Liebherr’s established local service set-up, including field engineers and spare parts support.

Mains hook-up

It is increasingly common for MHCs to be specified with cables and reels, so they can be hooked up to shore power where available, without compromising their flexibility. Last year, for example, Italgru completed the delivery of five such cranes (model IMHC 2120E) to Indonesia’s Pelindo III port authority in Surabaya. Maximum hook load is 120t and maximum outreach is 51m. The cranes are fitted with CAN bus controls and integrated crane diagnostics and management system, with a touchscreen monitor in the cabs. To meet local ground conditions, they are fitted with an extra axle line and outsize pads to spread the load during operations.

Liebherr has also recently shipped the second LHM 800 in four-rope variant – the biggest and most powerful MHC, with a hook lift of 308t (four-rope) at 13m-16m outreach – to the new Port of Bronka, St Petersburg, Lomonosov district.

So far, Liebherr is believed to have shipped four LHM 800s – two to Bronka and two as two-rope variants aimed mainly at container handling to Montecon in Montevideo. While the dimensions and lifting capabilities of such cranes are impressive, the demand from container terminals is more about the need for more lifting height because of higher vessel stacks than outreach. This also explains why many MHCs are fitted with tower extensions, to increase the jib fulcrum height and also raise the tower cab so the operator has a better view.

What will be interesting to see in future is whether the LHM 800 concept will appeal to bulk handlers. Bulk carriers have no deck loads to block a bigger jib angle and hence outreach. Equipped with a four-rope grab, the design has a capacity of 55.1t (grab plus cargo) at 52m outreach. Topping the world’s biggest gantry grab unloaders, the grab plus load capacity exceeds 80t out to 40m outreach. Through-the-ship capacity is estimated by Liebherr at 1,500 tph in standard drive configuration, rising to 2,300 tph with its hybrid Pactronic drive.

Quick entry

One point about boom/stick materials handlers is that they can provide low entry cost into ship handling, depending, of course, on the ship’s size and freeboard height, and can thus help a port tap into new revenue streams. Last year, for example, Peel Ports loaded the first ever shipment of export grain at Sheerness.

To set up this operation in equipment terms, all that was required was an off-the-shelf dozer to load tipper trucks in the shed and help pile the grain, a few concrete blocks to act as a retaining wall for the piles, and an off-the-shelf Liebherr Litronic LH80 mobile materials handler to transload the grain from pile to ship. Similar concepts for grain and other bulks loading and unloading are deployed up and down the UK, by Forth Ports, ABP and others.

A short while ago Medway, Kent port operator Ridham Sea Terminals Ltd (RST) became the first UK customer for the Liebherr LH 120 M, one of Liebherr’s largest hydraulic materials handlers. The German built machine was specified with a wheeled undercarriage (M) and hydraulic cab elevation riser, which gives the operator a clear view over the hold from a height of 8.1m. It also features Liebherr’s ECOmode fuel saver, which RST uses most of the time. RST typically handles over 0.5 Mtpa of dry cargo, and can accommodate vessels of up to 5,000 dwt.

The machine was sourced from port handling equipment specialist JST at short notice to replace an ageing Stothert & Pitt rail-mounted jib crane, which was no longer economical to repair.

It is equipped with a quick-coupling device that enables the operator to change from a 6 m3 clamshell grab to a suspended load hook in less than a minute. The 15m angled boom and 13.5m stick give a maximum working radius of 26m at ground level, and it can lift up to 7t (grab plus load).

Still in the UK, ABP King’s Lynn recently used a Terex Fuchs materials handler to handle the first imports of soya bean meal (a shipload of 3,300t) on behalf of Glencore Agriculture UK. This ABP port has now received a Mantsinen 120M HybriLift as part of the aforementioned overall £6M deal – although there was no central purchasing by ABP head office. A similar 120M HybriLift has gone to ABP Swansea, and a 90M HybriLift went to ABP Teignmouth, while ABP Ipswich ordered a crawler-mounted 95R.

In Germany, Lübecker HafenGesellschaft mbH (LHG) recently took delivery of a Sennebogen 835, for operation by Burmann Hafenlogistik. The crane’s first job was to discharge a 5,300t shipload of phosphate fertiliser arriving from Klaipeda, for which a clamshell grab was provided. Via a quick-release coupling, this can be exchanged with an orange peel grab for handling scrap. Maximum outreach is 17m, and maximum lifting capacity is 21t (grab plus load), stated LHG’s marketing director Ortwin Harms.

Meanwhile, Sennebogen has expanded its range of balance (equilibrium) cranes with the new 8400 EQ design. It is available on heavy-duty crawlers, rails, or as a fixed pedestal crane, and various tower or portal configurations can be provided.

The crane has a reach of 42m, and can thus cover an area of 5,500 m2, with a capacity of up to 12t at this outreach in the fixed variant (grab plus load). For port applications, it is available with the Portcab harbour cab, which has a large floor window to provide the operator with a good overview.

It is fitted with electro-hydraulic drive with two 160 kW electric motors that reduce fuel consumption by 25% compared to conventional diesel drive, while a further 50% saving is achieved with the movable counterweight and classic lever principle, which ensures that, even for heavy loads and high reaches, only the load lifted must be moved and driven.

The machine is controlled with just two cylinders, one for the lift and one for the stick. A bar that runs parallel to the boom connects the stick with the rear counterweight to ensure effective transmission of power, says Sennebogen.

A crawler-mounted Sennebogen 8160 EQ was recently delivered to Buss Erk, an associate company of Hamburg’s Buss Group in the Turkish Port of Iskenderun. This model has a reach of 30m, and covers a work area of 2,800 m2 . The crane is driven off a 160 kW electric motor, powered off a cable drum mounted on the undercarriage, and Sennebogen claims that the electric drive and balance principle reduces energy costs by up to 75% compared to an equivalent diesel genset driven boom/stick crane.

It is used mainly to handle fertilisers with a clamshell grab, and has a 6.5m pylon (tower) to enable it to reach down to 12m inside a ship’s hold. A forward-positioned Maxcab is mounted at the top of the tower.

E-Crane for the US

US coal miner Murray Energy recently installed a barge-mounted balance crane from Belgium’s E-Crane to handle fly ash at its Moundsville, West Virginia facility. The crane is powered off a 450 kW (600 hp) electric motor, and has a maximum capacity of 27t (30 USt) grab plus load, and a maximum outreach of 26.4m. It is fitted with a 10.7 m3 (14 yd3 ) hydraulic clamshell grab, and unloads the coal combustion by-product into a hopper, also mounted on the barge, from where it is conveyed to a truck loading station on the quay.

The grab is equipped with custom scrapers that, together with the adjustable push-down force of the jib,enable the fly ash to be handled efficiently, whether it is dry and crusty or wet and sticky, said E-Crane. The company added that a balance crane is ideal for barge operations, since listing and trimming of the barge is minimised.

In March, Liebherr-Argentina SA opened a new office in Buenos Aires, with the aim of expanding activities in Argentina and Uruguay, primarily in the product areas of mining, mobile cranes, MHCs and other port cranes. Eleven of the 17 Liebherr employees working in Buenos Aires look after sales and service in the area of port and harbour cranes.

Starting from April this year, Sennebogen is consolidating its Baltic Republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) distributorship and service partner arrangements on Estonia-based ScanBalt Crane OÜ, with which it has been cooperating since 2001. ScanBalt thus takes over business previously handled by Konekesko and Sennebogen stated that the transition would be seamless.

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