Features, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria

Continued rise of the Empire

Over the last six months, Empire Cranes has been focused on the East Coast of Australia. Directors Jarrod Belsey and Jared McDonald have significantly increased the capabilities of the business.

This increase in capabilities has enabled the business to provide customers with cranes for key construction projects including infrastructure and tunnelling as well as providing cranes tailor-made for various mining and renewable energy projects.

Jarrod Belsey explains more.

“When we were envisaging Empire Cranes, we didn’t want to be just another crane hire business. We were determined to position our business as a quality dry hire service provider, where the customer is our most important priority. Our customer is everything. 

“To do this we need to provide the customer with safe, quality mobile cranes and bespoke crane solutions to support their individual needs. We haven’t deviated from this position or direction and our customers have responded welcomingly.

“Our repeat customers understand and trust our experience within the crane hire industry and, increasingly, we are being consulted on larger-scale projects. To ensure we are able to service this demand, and keep in line with our quality principles, we are continuing to renew and reinvigorate the fleet with new cranes from quality, trusted industry brands. 

“With the number of major projects currently happening, cranes are a highly sought-after commodity. With our growth model we must be sure we are buying the right crane, at the right time, for the right customer and project. That’s why we only purchase quality brands,” he said.

“Most recently we added two Grove rough terrains, a Liebherr LTM 1070 with VarioBase, a new Sennebogen telescopic crawler, and a growing fleet of new Meada mini crawlers. All these cranes reflect our strategy of buying quality products to provide the right solution for our customers,” said Belsey.

Empire Cranes recently invested in a Liebherr LTM 1070-4.2 70t capacity all terrain, which went straight to work the day it was delivered and been working flat out since. 

The demand for cranes is quite varied and dynamic says Belsey. 

“Over the last six months we’ve experienced a significant increase in demand from customers for rough terrain crane capabilities. As a result of customers making a commitment to us, we have purchased two Grove rough terrains; one is a 70t capacity crane, the other 55t. 

“Demand has also seen us purchase some mini crawler cranes and a 16t capacity Sennebogen telescopic crawler for a mining project north of Mackay. The 70t machine is now on the Parramatta Light Rail project. The Grove 55t rough terrain has been sent to support our customers in Victoria working on the $14.8 billion Level Crossing Removal Program.

Belsey explains why Empire Cranes went with Grove rough terrains.

“We know the Grove product well, it’s a great product. Its lifting charts are very strong and it is a robust rough terrain. The availability of the cranes was also an important factor for us. When a customer asks for a crane, we need to be able to deliver in a timely manner. 

“Having to wait months for delivery isn’t going to work for them. We’ve had positive reports from site regarding the performance of the cranes and our customers are happy. Having satisfied customers is the main objective for the business. And moving into rough terrains and telecrawlers is exciting for the business as it opens some new and dynamic market sectors for us,” he said.

“We’ve had rough terrains into the Hunter Valley as well. Rough terrains are great tools, particularly for the civil construction and resources sectors, and we know the Groves are reliable and bulletproof and we are really happy with these additions to the fleet,” said Belsey.

The new Maedas are a result of demand for mini crawlers in some specialist applications such as the infrastructure – and more precisely tunnel – projects up and down the east coast.

“There is demand for the Maedas from the multiple tunnelling projects currently under construction in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The Maedas are a versatile crane and they can get into and lift in hard to reach areas,” said Belsey. 

“They are perfect for tunnelling work for the Metro Station project, West Gate Tunnel, and Rozelle Interchane projects, to name a few. They are both diesel and electric powered, fully remote controlled and, with the Maeda searcher hook, they can really get into difficult areas with very little tolerance and make the lift,” said Belsey.

As far as the new Maedas and the Sennebogen crawler, Empire Cranes worked closely with Pace Cranes, the national distributor. 

“We know Michael and Anthony and the Pace Cranes team really well now and we like working with them. We appreciate the lengths they go to ensure they get the product to us when we need it. Pace Cranes is a great company; they are easy to deal with and they are very focused on aftersales service and support,” he said. 

“The Sennebogen is recognised industry-wide as a well designed and engineered crane, and manufactured to cope with the heavy workloads crane businesses expect of the crane. Maedas feature in almost everyone’s fleet because of their versatility. Both are quality brands with quality products and that’s why Empire Cranes aligns with these brands,” said Belsey.

He goes on to explain how Empire Crane’s customer base is growing.

“We are talking to new prospective customers all the time and we obviously have a lot of repeat business from our existing customer base, which is always pleasing to see. Geographically, we are hiring cranes into new areas also. 

“As I mentioned, the new Sennebogen in going to a mine near Mackay and we are exploring more opportunities to venture further north and also across and into the west,” said Belsey.

“It’s great to know we are being recognised for the quality of the products and services we are providing and the feedback from site is positive, and they are really happy with the service we are providing.”

The LTM 1070 4.2 70t capacity all terrain from Liebherr.

As the business and the fleet expands, so does the network of maintenance and service providers working with Empire Cranes. Operation manager Jared McDonald explains more.

“Our strategy to work very closely with local service providers has worked extremely well. I have been working closely with specialised selected service providers and mechanics in our network. 

“Currently, our network is situated up and down the east coast where our growing population of cranes are operating, but we have plans to grow this into new areas. These trusted service providers have been especially selected as they are logistically close to where the cranes are operating, and they have the capabilities to provide the required levels of service and support.

“The local knowledge that comes with our network is invaluable and, in most cases, they will be known to our customers because they are servicing and supporting other equipment operating on site. Frequently our customers will manage the service programs for the cranes and this is especially the case on mine sites. 

“They have their own service teams and their own workshops, and we monitor the crane’s service record from the reports they send us. Because we are providing our customers with good quality products with low hours the service and support is normally pretty straight forward. Oils and filters when the hours are up, that sort of thing. If there is an issue, we will get to site or we will work with the crane OEM to resolve things quickly. We understand the importance of getting a crane back up and running as quickly as possible,” said McDonald.

Empire Cranes is on the rise with a growing customer base, a growing fleet, and plans for further growth over the next 12 months, says Belsey.

“Our business is structured for the dry hire market. We are providing our customers with quality products and we are even talking to other crane hire businesses who are looking to dry hire our cranes, either because their cranes are fully utilised or they don’t have the right crane for the job. We are happy to service these types of enquiries,” said Belsey.

“As a result of some new enquiries, where our clients are looking to hire small to medium pin-jib crawler cranes, we may be venturing into this market towards the end of the calendar year, we will have to wait and see!

“To date, Empire Cranes has been successful because we deliver what we say we will. We are very happy to work closely with customers, directly with sites and projects, and we are also happy to work with other crane hire businesses. If there are crane hire businesses reading this article and want to better understand our business, I encourage them to pick up the phone and call us. Both Jared and I will be happy to discuss your next project.” 

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