Company benefits from strategic positioning and branch network

15th April 2016 By: Malusi Mkhize - journalist

Crane solutions provider Johnson Crane Hire believes that its fleet of 250 cranes, a network of 13 branches throughout major cities in South Africa and a business branch in Gaborone, Botswana, have led to its success in various heavy lift applications over the years.

“Our branches are strategically positioned near heavy industry – where there are large and heavy equipment and facilities, as well as demand for heavy lifting solutions,” says Johnson Crane Hire sales executive Peter Yaman.

The company’s head office is located in Johannesburg while branches are located in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Rustenburg, Middelburg, Trichardt (Secunda), Kusile, Lephalale, Vanderbijlpark, Burgersfort and Kathu.

Johnson Crane Hire’s heavy lift division consists of a large hydraulic crane fleet, as well as large lattice and crawler cranes, offering a full range of heavy lift and project services.

Yaman tells Engineering News that the Durban branch, which services the petrochemicals industry, was contracted by the joint venture between Shell SA Refining and BP Southern Africa – Sapref – to complete heavy lifts for maintenance work in May last year.

Sapref hired Johnson Crane Hire’s 600 t crawler crane as well as 65 other cranes for a range of tasks during maintenance work on its refinery turnaround work last year.

Further, Johnson Crane Hire’s Vanderbijlpark branch services a large integrated energy and chemicals com- pany’s refinery, where 30 cranes are being used during a current shutdown in com- pleting heavy lifts and other applications.

Yaman says, despite the Vanderbijlpark branch not having 30 cranes in its core fleet, the strategic location of other branches enables the company to supplement the cranes needed to complete the project.

Wind Projects

Yaman highlights that a 750 t all-terrain crane – a combination of a lattice boom- upper with an all-terrain chassis – was specifically brought in for the wind industry.

Wind energy projects completed by Johnson Crane Hire included the heavy- lift projects for the West Coast One, Chaba, Waainek and Tsitsikamma wind farm projects, in the Western and Eastern Cape. The company’s Saldanha branch was involved in providing additional supplementary cranage and support services for these projects.

Yaman explains that a crawler crane would have been ideal for the project, as it “moves or crawls along its tracks” and does not need to be stripped down to be relo- cated to another hard stand and then reassembled to perform another lift.

“The downside was that the roads in between the hard stands where the tur- bines were erected were only 6 m wide and the crawler crane’s chassis is between 10 m and 12 m wide, making it unusable for this application,” he explains.

Meanwhile, the Kathu branch, in the Northern Cape, established in 2014, is servicing the solar energy projects and the iron-ore and manganese mining sectors.

To service various industries with its cranes, Johnson Crane Hire uses two main manufacturers for its fleet of cranes, to ensure effective maintenance and technical support, Yaman says.

“Our all-terrain fleet comprises cranes manufactured by German crane and crawler manufacturer Liebherr, while our smaller cranes and truck mounts are manufactured by Japan-based crane manufacturer Tadano,” he concludes.