European market overview from Sarens

2 May 2024

Print Page

Yannick Sel, group projects commercial director at Sarens, speaks exclusively to Cranes Today on industry growth areas, the energy transition, fleet demand, nuclear projects, plus moreā€¦

How has the European market for specialised heavy lifting and transportation been so far in 2024?
The market has been very busy and will remain so for the remainder of the year going into 2025.

What application areas are currently most driving growth?

The energy transition is in full swing; this particularly shows for Sarens in the offshore wind market. We also see a trend that projects are becoming larger in size (more MW) and foundations such as jackets and monopiles are gaining in size and weight requiring more and heavier equipment to handle them. We continue to see these trends for quite some time. At the same time we notice that some (pilot) floating offshore wind projects will kick off. This is only a preamble to commercial scale projects in the future. Whereas in the past only the ‘classic’ countries were getting involved in offshore wind we now see the market expanding to other countries. This is also proof that more and more governments are seeing a place for offshore wind in their energy mix. Baltics, Nordics, Poland, … just to name a few.

The civil industry is also keeping our teams occupied. We recently installed the last bridge over the Albert Channel, a bridge heightening programme taking several years, allowing the inland shipping to take a full row of containers extra, taking some 8.000 trucks off the road each day.

And last but not least, the general industry comprising data centres, semiconductor plants etc. is also seeing an increase in demand.

Which items in your fleet are most in demand? Why is this?

We particularly see high-capacity crawler cranes and ring cranes being in high demand due to the ever-increasing size and weight of the wind turbines and foundations.

Have you needed to expand your fleet to meet any particular growth areas?

Sarens continuously keeps renewing its fleet of cranes and SPMTs. Newer generation SPMTs also have higher capacity.

Have you seen a decline in work in any particular areas? If so, where, and what are the reasons behind this?

The classic oil and gas (read refineries in Europe) projects have a different profile than some 5-10 years ago. The energy transition is the main reason for this.  

What have been the main challenges, if any, for doing business recently and how is Sarens overcoming these challenges?

There are a lot of different innovative projects, especially considering the different floater designs. Will all receive a Final Investment Decision (FID) and how certain are the timelines? Being able to predict and forecast these developments is challenging.

What are the company’s plans for the future? Do you have a growth strategy in place that you can outline?

We have spoken a lot about offshore wind yet we must also not forget the nuclear industry for which several countries are gearing up as well. Having supported the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the UK, Sarens is also in close collaboration with other nuclear projects in Europe on which they need our expertise and Sarens SGC ring cranes which will be operated electrically. This is our energy transition.

Are there any other things you’d like to highlight?

Sarens is also starting up its operation on Ineos’ Project ONE in Antwerp, Belgium. There we will be utilising a mix of high-tech equipment, including telescopic cranes, SPMTs, barges and CC8800-1 crawler cranes, to install modules, columns and a flare.

In addition to offshore wind the civils sector is keeping Sarens particularly busy