The Maritime Cranes division achieved revenues of €733 million in the financial year 2017. This represents a downturn of €83 million (10.2 %) compared with its performance in the year before.
Lack of tailwinds in the markets
Over the past year, the Maritime Cranes division faced a difficult business climate. As a result of tonnage overcapacities, investments in new vessels stalled at the low level of the previous year. As a result, the demand for ship cranes was similarly low. The market for offshore cranes also saw sales figures stagnate. Primarily, the oversupply in crude oil led to low levels of investment and kept demand from picking up. The markets for container cranes, mobile harbour cranes, floating cranes and reachstackers showed stable development.
Despite the lack of tailwinds in the markets, the Maritime Cranes division maintained sales levels for Western Europe at the previous year’s level. Sales in Germany and Belgium in particular showed positive development. In contrast, growth dynamics were notably low in the Americas, Far East / Australia and Africa. Business in Eastern Europe and the Near and Middle East was extremely favourable.
Maritime Cranes division expands its market position
The global market for mobile harbour cranes was marked by concentration tendencies, new competitors entering the market and low-level growth. Despite these conditions, Liebherr further established its position as the global market leader. Sales grew strongly, especially in South America and Eastern Europe. For container cranes, the division achieved a very strong position on the American market with strong sales and new orders. One of the highlights was the delivery of five Megamax container class in Hamburg (Germany).
For offshore and ship cranes, the market development was impacted by a downturn, falling to a near total standstill in investment activity. Liebherr also experienced a drop in sales in both of these product areas. However, there were positive signs of a growing market interest in large cranes in the offshore and shipbuilding industries.
Deliveries for large-dimension cranes included three fully constructed container bridges from Ireland to Puerto Rico and two electric rubber tyre stacker cranes to Russia. Attesting to the development in automation, three rubber tyre stacking cranes fitted with automation packages were delivered to the USA.
A successful year for developers
In 2017, the division pushed forward with numerous development projects. For example, engineers continued work to increase the efficiency of machines and introduce alternative drive concepts. At the same time, the design for the reachstacker LRS 545-31 was developed further, allowing Liebherr to offer this machine in additional variations to customers in the future.
In the offshore cranes product line, an important development project was to optimise the basic design of three general-purpose cranes. In the heavy-load segment, engineers focussed on developing the HLC 295000, which specialises in the installation of wind farms and the demolition of offshore facilities. With a maximum lifting capacity of up to 5,000 tonnes at 35 m and a lifting height of more than 170 m, it is the largest crane ever built by Liebherr.
The division also made progress in expanding its portfolio of service products. Among the new releases was the training simulator for the CBG 350 / 360 ship crane. Using the LiDAT smartApp telematics system, users can analyse process and performance data in real time to use their handling equipment more efficiently.
The division also focused on its product and portfolio policy. As such, it closed minor gaps in the mobile harbour crane product portfolio.
Since July 2017, the division has been marketing the new four-rope grab ship crane, CBG 360, which is gradually replacing its predecessor, the CBG 350.
In 2017, the division successfully pushed forward with numerous development projects.
Innovations and investments towards future growth
Forecasts show that overcapacities and low oil prices will continue to influence market conditions for the Maritime Cranes division in 2018. This will also dictate developments in the demand for offshore and ship cranes. On the other hand, there are opportunities for the FCC and TCC series (permanently installed or rail-mounted harbour cranes), as well as for mobile harbour cranes. Under these circumstances, the division expects sales in the coming year to remain at around 2017 levels. By further boosting activities in product development and digitalisation, as well as targeted training and education of staff, the division will equip itself for future growth.