Industry News, News, Victoria

Australia’s largest knuckle crane lands in Melbourne

Victorian Crane Hire (VCH) is one of Australia’s leading crane trucks and logistics specialists. Established in 2017 by merging six of Victoria’s largest crane truck companies into one, VCH is home to the largest crane truck fleet in Victoria.

Managing over 100 pieces of equipment boasting lift capacities ranging from 0 to 195ton metre and reaches of 0 to 52m, is no mean feat says operations manager Ryan Elmasri.

“We pride ourselves on bringing together the best people, processes, and technologies to help our customers with their heavy lifting and haulage needs. VCH offers an effective and efficient tailored logistics solution to seamlessly integrate with the needs of our customers.

“Through our central and unified coordination technology, our logistics team can formulate the most effective and efficient combination of cranes, expert personnel and services based on the unique criteria of each job,” he said.

The VCH fleet of 50+ crane trucks are strategically located in the Southeast and Western regions of Melbourne, across two sites, and offer capabilities that are unlike any in Australia. No matter the size or the complexity of the task at hand, the VCH team has the experience, expertise and equipment to complete projects in a timely and affordable manner.

VCH was created through vertical integration/acquisition by its sister company, EI Group. A significant amount of EI groups budget was spent on logistics, which incentivised its shareholders to acquire its logistics suppliers.

VCH provides a tailor-made and holistic solution to all its valued customers. VCH is able to offer an end- to-end solution which includes project management, site checks, permits, logistical coordination, crane hire and heavy haulage across Australia, traffic management, dogmen and electrical spotters. As a result of its wide range of equipment it is regarded as the largest and most comprehensive provider of its kind. VCH brings technology to what was a relatively archaic industry which enables the organisation to offer a superior service.

  • VCH’s fleet includes:
    • Mobile knuckle cranes • Crane Semi’s
    • Crane trucks
    • Frannas
    • Prime Movers
    • Flat tops
    • Drop decks
    • Extendable trailers
    • Ramp trailers

“VCH is home to the largest mobile knuckle cranes in the country. Two of a kind in Australia, the Fassi 150- and 195t metre cranes are exceptional pieces of equipment and are contemporary to the crane hire industry,” said Elmasri.

The remotely operated crane has multiple flection points allowing it to extend vertically to a desired height, and then protract at a different angle within a range of 360 degrees. Remote operation ensures adherence to the highest levels of safety and allows operators to work within an exclusion zone away from harm. The Fassi 150 and 195 cranes do not require permits or counterweights. The operator of these machines is always a ticketed dogman with a C6 high risk license.

“Customers can rest assured they have the highest qualified personnel on site with this asset. A combination of these distinct features allows these cranes to operate within dense and complex environments, making them perfectly suited to service the most difficult of tasks. This capability will give any organisation a competitive advantage separating it from the rest of the pack,” said Elmasri.

Ryan explains how the work conducted by VCH influences the make-up of the fleet.

“We are predominantly a crane truck company, however we have been growing our heavy haulage division to transport our valued customers goods across Australia. We build strong relationships with our customers; we understand them and partner with them long term.

“We do not take a “cookie cutter approach”. We custom tailor our solutions to seamlessly integrate with the unique requirements of our customers. As such we grow alongside our partners and adapt and evolve with the needs of our customers. With our trucks we run Kenworth, Mercedes, Freightliner, Iveco and with our cranes we operate Fassi and Palfinger,” he said.

Service and maintenance of the fleet is a main priority for the business says Elmasri.

“We don’t just trust anyone to maintain our equipment, as such we have established a service centre, in house, with four fulltime diesel mechanics and a workshop manager. This ensures our standard of excellence is within our control always! Our facilities boast the highest safety standards, as part of our investment to protect the general public, our employees and our valued clients.

“Cranes are serviced based on hourly usage or annually. Our normal service intervals are every 200 hours of usage, and they are inspected daily with Pre-Operational Crane Checklists. We are recognised as a leading provider of crane trucks and heavy haulage solutions and our customers are some of Australia’s leading and blue-chip companies. To maintain our position in the market, we need to keep our equipment operating at optimum levels, all of the time,” he said.

“VCH has been highly focused on servicing our customers since inception. We service all of Victoria through our local division, and our interstate heavy haulage division services all of Australia. We are highly focused on customer service and customer satisfaction and this is factored into every decision we make. We adapt to our customers’ needs constantly,” said Elmasri.

“For complex lifting plans we engage an independent engineering consultancy company that does all the calculations to make sure the lift goes safely. We also have detailed 3d CAD blocks of our cranes which can be integrated into 3D survey plans. This allows us to conduct a test lift on software before the equipment even arrives onsite

“We conduct all recruiting inhouse. We understand our work is in a high- risk environment and we try to host quarterly operator leisure activities where team members can catch up and socialise out of work. We have noticed this reduces stress and increases team building within the company. VCH employs over 70 people. We self-fund training for our employees from drivers to mechanics and office staff.

“The support from our suppliers is very important. We partner with our customers long term and expect our suppliers will afford us the same treatment. We recently ordered 10 Mercedes 630 hp Heavy haulage trucks from Whitehorse Truck Centre because of their exceptional support and customer service,” he said.

VCH expects to grow within Victoria and it will look to branch out into New South Wales and South Australia once it has reached its goals within Victoria.

“As many of our customers are blue chip national companies and VCH is looking to expand operations Australia wide, to support its customers in every state. We are seeing an increase in work in the civil construction and infrastructure sectors which will help us with these plans,” said Elmasri.

The Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) is a crucial institution that is the corner stone of the wider industry. VCH is the first crane truck company to sit on the State Executive of CICA, Ryan is the representative for VCH. It is the goal of VCH to assist CICA in achieving its goals within the crane truck market.

These goals include: Improving the health, safety and well-being of crane industry personnel Driving compliance with applicable legislation and regulation Improving crane usage, customer experience and efficiency.

“Being the largest Crane Truck provider, VCH serves to lead by example. We walk the talk. We have long practiced the highest standard of safety, positioning ourselves as the benchmark for compliance in the industry.

“Compliance and Safety is in everything we do; from the way our depot has been built, to in house maintenance of equipment and green stickering all of our cranes through CraneSafe Australia.

“We strive to illuminate problematic areas in this industry and encourage wider compliance within this segment.

“We aim to do this by supporting an uptake in membership with CICA, encouraging customers to engage suppliers who are members of CICA, and by pushing for more cranes to be Green Stickered by CraneSafe Australia. In terms of educating customers
to identify dangers, including when cranes are overridden to carry over their maximum loads, VCH has voluntarily held free seminars to assist customers to identify such hazards.

“These measures will raise the standard of the segment and encourage significantly higher compliance rates, benefiting the industry, the public and the council in its endeavours,” said Elmasri.

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