Most contractors and crane rental companies around the world would like to have a few more cranes in their fleet; some would even like a lot more. Demand is outstripping supply.

Nowhere is this problem more acute than in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries of the Middle East, whose members include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. To help meet, and take advantage of, the need for more cranes, a consortium of powerful interests came together last year to establish Ejar, a new crane rental company that has already built up a fleet of about 100 cranes and, with deliveries of new cranes taking place on a weekly basis, is on course to have 120 cranes by the end of the year and 265 by the end of next year, according to the current delivery schedule.

All equipment is purchased new. The fleet comprises Liebherr and Terex-Demag all terrains, Tadano rough terrains and Kobelco crawlers. Tower cranes are being added, and Ejar is trialling Chinese-made XCMG cranes. The company is finalising the details of its first order for aerial work platforms.

General manager Abed Elghani Halbaoui, who transferred across from CCC and has more than 30 years experience in the construction industry, heads the company’s management team. The sales and marketing manager is Dorinel Stefaniu, who was previously with Johnson Arabia in the UAE. The finance manager is Mark O’Brien, who has 25 years of experience in construction finance. Administration and human resources are managed by Nabil Khan from Dutco, who has ten years experience in strategic planning and structuring of new business ventures for large companies.

Dorinel Stefaniu says: “All our team members are very keen to perform at the highest level and everyone has considered joining Ejar a challenge. The senior management has been carefully selected, considering their vast experience in the industry. This was the first criterion. Here at Ejar we believe in a creative multi-cultural working environment. Regarding the technical staff and operators, we are facing the same difficulties as everybody else due to market competitiveness and demand, but we have selected a list of operators from all over the world who are ready to join.

Stefaniu reveals that Ejar’s plan is to work across the GCC region, and possibly beyond, in due course. Most of Ejar’s shareholders already have significant fleets of cranes and other construction equipment of their own. They will look to Ejar as a resource to help meet peaks of demand, but Ejar will act independently and also work for other customers, he says.

When asked how Ejar will try to satisfy the competing demands of the shareholders, who are competitors in the construction industry, Stefaniu says: “It is a fact that our partners like CCC, Al-Shuwayer, Dutco and Al Habtoor are involved in some of the multi-billion major projects in the region and their general crane requirements are very high. We are to be seen as a profit centre, where Ejar takes into consideration the needs of all the partners, but is looking in the open market for its own profitability.”

He adds: “The GCC market is huge. For instance, in Saudi Arabia alone, there are approved projects worth more than $60bn. Our plans are to increase the existing fleet depending on manufacturers’ ability to supply and to strengthen our position in the market. We are in the process of launching an aggressive marketing campaign to make all the industry aware of our existence and our willingness to provide reliable lifting solutions to accommodate their needs. Ejar is dedicated to providing state-of-the art rental cranes and equipment for construction. Ejar is adding value to the projects with its new fleet of cranes and equipment.”

The shareholders of Ejar

Ejar, which is the Arabic word for rental, has 10 shareholders. These are:
Abdullah Al Hamoud Al-Shuwayer Trading & Contracting Company — based in Saudi Arabia
Dutco – a UAE-based contractor
Al-Habtoor Engineering Enterprises — a UAE-based contractor
Abdulla Fouad Holding Company — a Saudi Arabian group with interests across property and construction
Abdulmohsen Rashed Al Rashed — a Kuwaiti construction group
Rashid Saad Al-Rashid — a Saudi Arabian construction group
Abdulaziz and Mohammed and Abdullatif Hamad Al-Jabr — a diverse Saudi Arabian conglomerate whose interests include construction
Dubai Islamic Bank
Arab National Bank
Al Massar Investments — based in Dubai

Left to right: Finance manager Mark O’Brien, general manager Abed Elghani Halbaoui, and sales & marketing manager Dorinel Stefaniu.
Three wise men: the Ejar managers