Machine demand takes a toll on deliveries

Long lead times due to shortages of steel and other projects across the globe siphoning supply from the region.

Number of Chinese Yongmao cranes sold in the UAE during 2007.
Number of Chinese Yongmao cranes sold in the UAE during 2007.

Long lead times due to shortages of steel and other projects across the globe siphoning supply from the region.

Delivery time for construction machinery in the UAE could take up to three years for heavy equipment such as cranes and dredgers, according to a rental company in Dubai.

Bob de Weerd, managing director of ITC heavy equipment said: "Infrastructure work won't be a problem as this kind of work needs smaller machines which are easily available - the delivery time for a 100m to 200m crane is about three years."

De Weerd added that large mining trucks were being imported from Indonesia to meet the demand and that a 200-ton mining truck would have at least a two-and-a-half year delivery time.

"Manufacturing these machines isn't getting any easier, either," said Weerd. "The price of steel is rising sharply, which makes the trucks more expensive."

The construction sector is also competing with industries such as gold, copper, and oil for essential equipment.

"All mines around the world use these trucks and with the construction industry being at the bottom of the food chain each of these industries gets precedence over us."

Weerd added that major global projects, such as widening of the Panama Canal, are also having an impact on equipment supply to the Middle East, with the Emirates in the UAE being badly hit.

Demand for construction-related machinery and vehicles is expected to continue to rise in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE, due to a series of new project announcements.

Al Bahar, the Caterpillar dealer in the region, faces similar problems with acquiring machinery. "It's difficult to pinpoint delivery times, but with cranes it can be between one and three years," said Sudhir Tripathy, Al Bahar.

"Smaller equipment like the forklift s and loaders would be available within three months or so."

"This situation has come about because worldwide demand for machinery rocketed and no one was prepared for it."

"The situation is made worse because it is not easy to ramp up production suddenly due to the materials that are needed."

"Companies are also reluctant to open new production facilities in case this demand is temporary, leaving their new facilities redundant."

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