|Taking the Boom out of the Crane Industry|
|Water Truck Conference|
|Monday, 13 August 2012 14:47|
We met with several of the crane companies recently to discuss topics that they might want to bring to light in our shared industry.
The biggest concern was CARB issues. Just when I thought the water truck industry was affected detrimentally, the crane industry is facing some very trying issues.
One company who has 12 cranes will downsize to just three, the only cranes they have that fit the CARB regulations. Some of the companies own European-made cranes and are told they can’t repower them to CARB standards, or put a PM filter on them. Some crane models do not have room for a PM filter and if they can get a filter on, they still do not run hot enough to be effective and cause more engine problems and may even shut down—bad news if you’ve got a load on the hook. One company actually had pallets of clogged filters that had to be removed off their cranes, roughly $1.5 million worth!
Money no object?
Just to give an example of what the costs are on cranes: just to repower a crane (if it’s even possible) can cost up to $250,000! To replace the cranes with new ones can cost a minimum of $680,000 all the up to $7,000,000….SEVEN MILLION!! To make things even worse, because cranes are certified with weights and limits, some of the manufacturers will not allow any changes on motors, emissions, etc. in order to warranty them. So even if they can put a filter on them they may be out of warranty! Also, some of the older smaller specialty cranes that are used in the movie industry and on the sets and for cramped, or hard to get to areas, are no longer made, and cannot be replaced.
The larger crane companies have several out of state locations and can send their older cranes out of California to their other locations. The larger companies in most of the trucking/equipment industries seem to have more options, and are financially stable enough to replace the older vehicles. It’s the small and medium size businesses that that are being hit hard that are forced out-of-state, out-of-business, retiring early, or downsizing to bare bones… oh the loss of jobs and revenue that California so desperately needs! Some of these companies have been in business since the 1950’s. Generations of family businesses are being whittled away right out from underneath them.