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Voyage Prosperous

In March, Liebherr Africa launched a new maritime centre in spoke to Henner Durban. Rodenwoldt, Maritime Division Manager of Liebherr Africa, to find out more about the subsidiary’s activities and growing influence across the continent.

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arch saw the opening of Liebherr Africa’s first maritime hub in South Africa. Located just outside of Durban, the new service centre is set to offer complete service staff training in addition to sales and spares for all of its products in South Africa. With Africa being the second largest market for its parent Liebherr Group last year, the company has seen a threefold increase in mobile harbour crane deliveries from the 2013-2014 period, and is optimistic about meeting the on-going demands of the African market. “We’ve had a long business relationship with Transnet. They have over 60 Liebherr cranes now, including 31 ship-to-shore cranes, 13 mobile harbour cranes, and 18 rubber tyre gantry (RTG) cranes,” begins Rodenwoldt. “As a result of that good relationship, and together with the development we’ve seen here in Africa, we decided we would open up this maritime hub as an extended arm of the head offices in Europe.”

The last few years have seen a significant increase in South Africa’s infrastructure spending, with room for more growth to follow. “If you look at all the landlocked economies, they have started to thrive and develop now. That helps us, and the ports in general, to deliver the products to and from these economies,” explains

Over the last few years, we’ve seen that a lot of ports or shipping companies in the oil and gas sector are pushing for productivity and safety, so we looked to different industries to see how we could improve productivity on the skills front

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We looked at the realistic simulators of the aerospace industry, and we spent significant money, R&D and also resources in developing simulators specifically for our products Rodenwoldt. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen that a lot of ports or shipping companies in the oil and gas sector are pushing for productivity and safety, so we looked to different industries to see how we could improve productivity on the skills front,” he continues. “We looked at the realistic simulators of the aerospace industry, and we spent significant money, research and development (R&D) and also resources in developing simulators specifically for our products. This will drive productivity, reduce risk of damage on the machines themselves, and eliminate risk factors — and then pass these advantages on to the customers.”

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The South African skills shortage has proved challenging for Liebherr Africa, but the company’s solution benefits both its business and the local economy. “We’ve started an apprenticeship programme here in South Africa, where we take on a number of apprentices each year and start training them for the next three years so we can reduce our expat contingency and work with local people,” explains Rodenwoldt. “The crane simulators are for both operational and technical training, and we cover the whole maritime range — from ship-toshore cranes and RTG to mobile harbour cranes and offshore cranes. It’s one of the best training centres we have in our group.”

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In October last year, the South African government launched Operation Phakisa. The initiative aims to have government, academia, and industry working together to fi nd methods of reducing unemployment, and hopes to create over one million jobs by 2033. Operation Phakisa will begin by exploring the potential of South Africa’s oceans — focusing on industries such as marine transport and

The SmartGrip innovation has received a lot of attention, and it’s something that the market has been wanting for a long time


Maritime Cranes.

maritime.cranes@liebherr.com facebook.com/LiebherrMaritime www.liebherr.com

The Group


manufacturing; offshore oil and gas; marine protection; and fish farming to name just a few. “Phakisa is a very interesting initiative that will help the South African economy significantly, specifically the shipbuilding and ship repair industry,” says Rodenwoldt. “And Liebherr is very strong in this field as well, in terms of delivering cranes and infrastructure. A lot of the infrastructure that is in place here in South Africa is very old, and over the years there have been a lot of exciting new innovations in this sector. We are very happy to play our part in helping to propose possible solutions for what can be done in the shipyards in terms of innovation and progress.” Liebherr’s worldwide reputation for innovation extends to its subsidiaries, with Liebherr Africa demonstrating its talent for forward-thinking designs and solutions. “We’re working on a lot of innovations at the moment. One thing we’re looking at is increasing our product portfolio, and in April 2015 we issued the world’s largest mobile harbour crane, the LHM 800. It has a lifting capacity of 308 tonnes, which is 100 tonnes more than its predecessor,” says Rodenwoldt. “We’ve also looked at certain operations, specifically the grab operations, where we’ve developed the SmartGrip system.”

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The SmartGrip system Rodenwoldt refers to is an intelligent grabbing technology, designed to increase turnover and eliminate stress and overloads on the crane. SmartGrip technology is currently in use across the grab operations sector, and is being tested on transshipment operations in Africa. “The SmartGrip innovation has received a lot of attention, and it’s something that the market has been wanting for a long time,” says Rodenwoldt.

Operation Phakisa is a very interesting initiative that will help the South African economy significantly, specifically the shipbuilding and ship repair industry Liebherr Africa is also looking to expand into new markets, and with its order books already very full in South Africa, it certainly looks to be a busy year for the company. “Obviously the west-African market is a big market for us, and we have a very strong presence within it,” says Rodenwoldt. “This year, we’re able to break into the east African market, where traditionally our competition has been strong. We’re able to deliver ship-to-shore cranes to Kenya, and we’re able to deliver mobile harbour cranes to Maputo, so all from the beginning of the year we will be represented in the east African countries as well, which is very interesting.”

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Contact our office ion South Africa: Liebherr Africa (Pty) Ltd PO Box 40033 2 Kubu Av. Riverhorse Valley Durban North 4071 South Africa Tel: +27 31 010 0300 Email: info.laf@liebherr.com

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www.essentialbusinessmag.com ŠEssential Business Magazine 2015

Liebherr Africa  

Prosperous Voyages

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