Experienced and powerful

21 January 2019

With more than six decades in operation, four focusing on crane rental, Tat Hong has become one of the strongest players in the global crane market. Sotiris Kanaris visits the company’s headquarters in Singapore and talks with Mike Ng, chief executive offi cer, ASEAN.

Tat Hong’s fleet size across the Asia-Pacific region exceeds 1,700 machines, comprising crawlers, mobile and tower cranes ranging from under 50t to 1,600t. The company serves customers in diverse industries such as construction and engineering, infrastructure, oil and gas, petrochemical and power generation sectors.

Its ASEAN division controls operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Hong Kong, where the company focuses on rental and sale of mobile and crawler cranes.

“Our fleet in the region comprises mainly of crawler cranes, with the biggest one having a capacity of 1200t. We also have six units of 600t machines,” says Ng. In terms of the most popular crawlers for rental across the region, he says that it depends on the country and the usage. “The range of 80–250t is very popular in Singapore and in Hong Kong,” he adds.

In Singapore and Malaysia the company also offers rough terrains for rental. These machines are from Link-Belt, Tadano, Kato and Terex.

The company has 150 machines in its fleet in Singapore. Ng says the local crane rental market is recovering but that supply still exceeds demand. However, he anticipates a growth in demand for machines in the next few years, as there are major projects in the pipeline, including a rail and an airport project.

In Malaysia the company has a fleet of 120 cranes, in Hong Kong 60 and in Thailand 100. “In Vietnam we currently have 20 units, but we will expand our fleet there to 30–40 units,” Ng says.

He says that many companies have attempted to follow Tat Hong’s footsteps and expand their operations to a number of markets in the region. “They come in and the first thing they do is to drop the price against us, whether they can sustain or not sustain that pricing is another issue. There have been many companies that attempted that for a few years and then exited some markets.”

Ng highlights that it takes a lot of years to build up a reputation in the rental market of a country. He says that the company’s services have been important in gaining longterm customers.

From the countries outside Singapore, Ng fi nds Thailand to be the most active, as there are a lot of infrastructure projects in Bangkok. “In 2019, demand from other countries will pick up. I believe the market in Malaysia will grow as activity in the oil and gas industry will recover. In Hong Kong I expect the market to grow by midnext year, because of an airport project and other big projects.”

Ng is not so optimistic when it comes to sales of equipment, as there is intense competition from Chinese manufacturers in the region. Tat Hong is the distributor of Hitachi Sumitomo for this geographical area, with the bestselling Hitachi Sumitomo cranes being the 100t and 150t.

As the market of the region grows as anticipated in the next couple of years, it is certain that we will see many green boom tips, a distinctive characteristic of Tat Hong cranes, at work.