Kobelco Cranes India Pvt. Ltd manufactures hydraulic crawler cranes and started its Indian operations in August, 2010. The company provides crawler cranes in 100 to 250 ton class. Its products are suitable for applications in the fields of factory plant construction, bridge construction, wind mill construction and other general construction works. The company’s Sri city production unit is spread across 40,000 sq. m with an annual production capacity of 90 crane units in different classes.
Yutaka Goto, President & Managing Director, Kobelco Cranes India told Sandeep Menezes that he feels the Indian crane market will recover to the level of 2010 within the next 3-5 years.
Excerpts from the interview:
Kobelco India established in 2010, started local production in 2012 and within two years reached its 100th machine milestone. Tell us about Kobelco’s long term business strategy in India?
Yes this great achievement by Kobelco India reached 100th machine milestone in two years. KCI is already the leading crawler crane company in India who are the sole company who produce 100 ton or higher crawler crane in India.
We are anticipating the increase of our volume and market share as Indian economy starts to recover and the demand for 100 tons or more crane will increase in next 3-5 years. Also from early next year we plan to start the export of our Made in India product.
We would like to fully utilize KCI facility to expand our business in India and its neighboring nations.
We are sure our company will reach 200th machine within next one year due to recovery of domestic market and the initiation of export.
Going forward, does Kobelco India intend to introduce any new products or increase focus on any specific equipment segment?
We will continue to produce and supply the 100, 150 and 250 tons crane for domestic market. Our company may produce different model for export from next year. We will focus on crawler and other crane business in India.
How much growth do you foresee in the Indian crane market over the next five years? Tell us about the main growth drivers?
As market in 2014 shrank to almost one third of 2012, we may expect the Indian crane market will recover to the level of 2010 within the next 3-5 years. The main growth drivers are that many infrastructure, metro rail, steel and power projects are cleared, also more FDI in new projects, and new economic reforms, etc.
What is the size of crawler cranes segment in the overall construction equipment market?
I guess excavator and other road equipment is dominant in India, crawler crane segment is less than 10 per cent in construction equipment market.
Interest rates have started to soften although they remain high, and most equipment sales happen through financing rather than self-purchase. Therefore do you think it will boost growth in the industry?
Yes. In the emerging economy, it is very much needed to soften the financing options to all the projects to procure the equipment as well. Even though interest rate in India remain high, reduction of interest rate from double digit to single digit will be helpful to increase the motivation of high price tag product such as crawler crane.
Currently, there exist a huge shortage of equipment operators and technicians. Tell us about the extent of shortage and ways to mitigate it?
Of course there is a shortage of skillful equipment operators and technicians in the country.
KCI itself not only provides excellent customer support but also provides proper training to its customers’ employees to operate and maintain the equipment including periodical training programs to its customer’s operators & technicians.
However that may not be enough to ease the shortage of operators we are now facing.
We may need support from government to provide training program to increase the number of operators for construction equipment market.
India is not governed by stringent equipment norms like those prevailing in the EU and US. Therefore critics claims that global players dump lower end and older technology into India. Comment
We disagree with this claim by the critics. Of course you may find out the difference in engine due to the gas emission regulation.
However, in terms of quality, Kobelco Cranes India is manufacturing world class quality products in India – the same as in Japan. We produce and supply only top quality and reliable products in India.