Luffing jib cranes see rise in popularity in GCC

Nabil Al Zahlawi, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s NFT Specialized in Tower Cranes, points to the rising uptake of luffing jib cranes among contractors on big projects

Nabil Al Zahlawi is the CEO and managing partner of the Abu Dhabi-based NFT Specialized in Tower Cranes, which has been in business for 35 years.
Nabil Al Zahlawi is the CEO and managing partner of the Abu Dhabi-based NFT Specialized in Tower Cranes, which has been in business for 35 years.

The tower cranes segment in the Gulf is seeing an increase in the use of luffing jib cranes over the traditional favourites, hammerhead and flat-top cranes, according to Nabil Al Zahlawi, CEO of Abu Dhabi’s NFT Specialized in Tower Cranes.

One example project where NFT has recently deployed luffing jib canes is the Royal Atlantis in Dubai, which is being built by Belhasa Six Construct, the Dubai-based joint venture of Belgian international contracting group Besix.

Al Zahlawi notes: “We erected 10 luffing jib cranes rated to 24 tonnes, and which will be running for 12 to 15 months on the job. We didn’t have these cranes in our fleet, but we decided to invest in them because luffing jibs are an upcoming concept for contractors in the region.

“This is key, because it’s an investment of 70 or 80 million dirham on the equipment for this job and we have to recover part of the investment within 12 or 15 months’ time.”

He continues: “People are used to a hammerhead or flat-top crane, but on this jobsite, we studied the job with the contractors, and it was highly recommended to use a luffing job to cover the whole project. At present, between 15% and 18% of our fleet are luffing jibs, but the number is increasing every day.

Luffing jib cranes are often preferred in densely packed sites where traditional cranes would otherwise be at risk of obstructing one another, being obstructed by other structures or pose an unreasonable jobsite risk by overhanging active roads or other infrastructure

NFT Specialized in Tower Cranes, has weathered 35 years of upticks and slowdowns in business, and – in the words of Nabil Al Zahlawi – seen off repeated recessions.

The company owns around 2,000 Potain cranes, with 1,500 of them based in the region and a further 400 currently located in Asia and around 100 in Europe.

The company has recently invested in a new equipment yard in Dhafra in Abu Dhabi and is also in the process of re-establishing its presence in Kuwait, which currently represents a growth market for the company.

You can read more in PMV’s recent interview with Nabil Al Zahlawi on NFT's big plans

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