From factory to foundation: Johnson Arabia looks at the bigger picture
The rental company is working on standardizing its fleet to maximize equipment uptime by opting for brands that offer the most consistent after-sales service, particularly availability of spare parts.
Johnson Arabia’s Cranes division, which operates in GCC countries with a fleet size of over 250 mobile cranes and crawler cranes including all terrain, rough terrain, truck mounted and crawler cranes with lifting capacities ranging from 7 tonnes to 700 tonnes. Crawler crane capacities ranging from 50 tonnes to 600 tonnes constitute over 30% of the fleet.
The rental company’s core business consists of long-term hires, mainly for infrastructure projects. Johnson Arabia has executed complex heavy lifts, tandem lifts and rigging operations on large infrastructure projects such as the Abu Dhabi International Airport; Dubai Expo 2020; ENOC refinery in JAFZA, Dubai; Deep Tunnel Storm Water System in Dubai; and Duqm refinery in Al Duqm, Oman.
Johnson Arabia also served as the exclusive crane supplier to projects such as Warner Bros. Theme Park, Yas Mall, and Ferrari World on Yas Island; Sheikh Khalifa Bridge (Saadiyat Bridge), and Zayed University. Currently, over 60% of its fleet is allocated for long-term hires.
The crane fleet consists of all the top recognized brands. Having made its last major fleet upgrade in 2016, Johnson Arabia will continue evaluating its fleet, and further investment in new equipment will be driven by future customer needs.
Mohammad Fareed Naser, executive manager, Dubai, Northern Emirates and Oman, Johnson Arabia, says: “Investment in newer mobile and crawler crane models are attractive, because the new generation cranes are more agile, easier to transport and operate, requires lower maintenance and complies with the latest safety standards, compared to previous models. Alongside technical improvements in lifting capacity, we prioritize customer service, equipment reliability and safety for new purchases.”
Mark Bedderson, executive manager, Abu Dhabi / Oil & Gas, Johnson Arabia, adds: “With regard to customer needs, there’s sustained demand for all types of mobile and crawler cranes. Mobile cranes are cost effective particularly on congested job sites because of their accessibility and flexibility. Crawler cranes have become the preferred lifting solution for fast-track projects and precast concrete works. Some customers demand specific brands for their lifting capacities and boom lengths; so, having a mix of well-known brands is an advantage for us.”
Mohammad Fareed Naser, executive manager, Dubai, Northern Emirates and Oman, Johnson Arabia.
Mark Bedderson, executive manager, Abu Dhabi / oil & gas, Johnson Arabia.
The company is working on standardizing its fleet to maximize equipment uptime by opting for brands that offer the most consistent after-sales service, particularly availability of spare parts.
“We offer 24/7 support with a dedicated team covering both day and nightshift operations, this has given us the reputation as a fast responder to all emergencies and breakdowns, if repairs cannot be rectified within 24 hours, we provide a replacement unit. For large projects that cannot afford any downtime, we reserve spare cranes and manpower for emergencies. However, unnecessary delays do occur if spare parts are not available. With the stores at our new DIC yard, this would be easier to manage as spare parts would be kept in-house. It’s important we standardize our fleet. We also aim to offer the same level of reliability and safety assurance for all our cranes, irrespective of the brands,” says Naser.
Edwin Bijmholt, head of operations, Johnson Arabia, adds: “As we conduct feasibility studies on new models and their features, our priority is to evaluate how they can meet the increasingly high standards of safety and performance on job sites. That will determine to what extent we would need to refurbish, replace or invest in new cranes.”
Edwin Bijmholt, head of operations, Johnson Arabia.
Meanwhile, the company is expanding its short-term rental business mainly for construction and events, which require cranes for short durations ranging from a day to a month.
“Short-term hire is attractive because it generates more revenue and we can serve more customers and increase our market share,” says Naser.
Bedderson adds: “Whether we supply a crane for a day or for several months, the brand visibility of Johnson Arabia increases with a wider presence of cranes on job sites, which improves customer perception of our brand in a highly competitive market.”
As Johnson Arabia gears up to expand its business in the GCC, the company has adopted a larger vision – to provide turnkey lifting and engineering solutions. Bedderson refers to this as “the next level for Johnson Arabia.”
“With enforcement of safety standards and increasing complexity of lifting operations, customers want more than just cranes on rent; they want engineering solutions that extend from the factory to port and from the port to site. So, we’re looking at the big picture – to offer turnkey transportation and lifting solutions for factory to foundation projects – with the combined strengths of a modern fleet and the technical and operational expertise of our staff,” says Bedderson.