Heavylift / Breakbulk
A range of services comes up trumps
It does not always have to be the major players. The fact that medium-sized enterprises are often more effective and quicker to react to changing market conditions can also be observed in the heavylift sector. Ross Grosskopf of the SME Dako Worldwide Transport, spoke to Christian Doepgen about his experiences in the various regional markets, and his company’s plans for the future.
Mr Grosskopf, which orders have surprised you over the past few months?
To our own amazement we recently dealt with significantly more project cargo shipments from Russia, thanks to our subsidiary in St Petersburg.
What do you attribute this boost to?
The economic sanctions against Russia haven’t stymied all trade relations. The country continues to export goods, for example electrification plants, hydro-electric power stations or railway construction equipment to Latin America, Asia or Iran.
Iran is currently on everyone’s lips...
Despite the current euphoria, building on proven contacts is the best way forward. Iranians are very selective when choosing their partners. Iran has already been an important market for our family-managed firm for a long time. We’ve been able to maintain our business relationships there, even during the hottest sanctions phase.
What is your impression of Iran?
There is excess supply in a vast range of services in the market. Infrastructure and equipment in the country are in a far better condition than you might expect, you know. In addition, European companies must not overlook the fact that the market has gained industrial autonomy over the past few years. Asian competitors are also active in the country.
What business does Dako have locally?
We’re building on our long-term contracts and projects there that are no longer affected by the sanctions. Business in the Iranian market, enabled by many private EPC contractors, should not be underestimated. In addition, there are well-established local heavylift transport companies that we can work with.
Are there other examples in the Middle East of private customers operating on behalf of public principals?
There are many; Egypt is a good example. We also have a few long-standing contacts there, by the way. We’re handling the project transportation needs of a cement plant there, which is funded by private investors. There are companies based there, in the power plant sector, amongst others, that have spread out across the whole of the Middle East, even to Dubai for instance.
Dako has been active in Central and South America for some time now. How is business progressing there?
We’ve completed our crane needs there now. In addition to ten cranes with lifting capacities of 30 to 120 t, and Liebherr 80 and 400 t units, we now also have cranes with 180 and 240 t lifting capacities. In addition, we’ve just received the first self-propelled PST-type heavylift module in our fleet there.
What projects are underway there at the moment?
There is strong demand for medium-sized power plants in Colombia, Peru and Panama. Building these doesn’t require such a large level of national investment, and they can be completed quicker. We recently completed the transportation of a new cement factory to Guatemala.
Where do you see market opportunities?
We consider West Africa to be one of our best long-term prospects. We have some equipment in place in the West African Economic Community (Ecowas). It will stay there, ready for action. We’ve cooperated on a hydro-electric power plant project in Liberia, and run a small office in Ghana. There are various projects in the pipeline for the continent, but we need to remain patient.