Delivery has now begun of a 23 crane order placed a few months ago by UK rental company Hewden Crane Hire with Demag Mobile Cranes.

The £5.5m ($8.2m) order comprises eleven AC 30s (30t) , seven AC 50s (50t), three AC 80s (80t) and one AC 200 (200t). Delivery of the first of the cranes is expected this month with the order being completely fulfilled by September.

The cranes will be spread throughout the depot network of Hewden Crane Hire, but will primarily be based at the depots in the London area. The company said that it wanted to ‘reinvigorate business in the south of England’.

Ever since parent company Hewden Stuart was taken over by Canadian company Finning in January 2001 there has been speculation in the UK crane industry about Hewden’s future. Finning’s core business is its Caterpillar distributorships. Soon after buying Hewden Stuart, which rents the full range of construction equipment, speculation was heightened by two unrelated events: Finning sold its lifting business in Canada; and crane boss Ray Ledger quit to join rival Ainscough.

But this latest 22 crane order from Demag is being portrayed as a demonstration of Finning/Hewden’s commitment to the crane industry. Alex Lowe, general manager of Hewden Crane Hire, said: ‘This once again strengthens Hewden’s commitment to remaining in the crane hire market for the long term and the addition of 22 brand new cranes means we can bring greater efficiency to the business and enhance the service we can offer our customers.’

This month also sees Hewden opening of a new combined cranes and plant depot at Heathrow, to the west of London.