Brazil is now importing used cranes

Almost half of the Brazilian fleet is currently in yards
due to the competition with imported cranes.

Article published on section Economia&Negócios of newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo on March 14th, 2012.

In spite of the increase in infrastructure projects, near half of the heavy crane (above 500 tons) fleet is currently in the yards of rental companies and 3,000 employees have no work to do. According to data of the special load movement and lifting segment, the market is currently using imported used equipment, which get into Brazil under the “temporary” mode.

A large amount of such cranes comes from Europe, where economic growth is weakened by the financial crisis. With no major heavy construction projects, the solution they came up with to put their idle equipment to use was going to emerging markets, among which is Brazil. The problem is that Brazilian law created an unfair competition with local rental companies, states consultant Jose Aparecido Bastazini, who represents four entities of the transportation, logistics, and machinery and equipment segments. He explains that, by coming to Brazil under the “temporary” mode, foreign companies must to pay, monthly, a tax of only 1% of the declared value of goods. Meanwhile, a piece of equipment purchased abroad by Brazilian companies is subject to a tax of 30%. “It’s become a predatory competition. We have 48 cranes, worth BRL 500 million, lying around because of imported cranes”.

He explains that the situation is even more serious, since many companies bring not only the cranes, but manpower as well. He comments that, until December, the Ministry of Transportation had already denied visas for around 1,200 workers who would come to Brazil to operate the cranes. The Ministry confirms it denied the entry of such workers because they were tasks that could be performed by Brazilians. However, even though they refute the figure presented by Bastazini, they did not know how many visas had been denied.

The consultant states that a large portion of imported cranes heads to the Northeast region to be used in the construction of Wind Farms – which have been trendy in Brazil since 2009. The president of Abeeolica (the Brazilian Wind Power Association), Elbia Melo, confirms that the imports took place, but says it was due to the recent expansion of that power source in Brazil. According to her, the sector’s production chain is developing now with the wind power tenders. “We don’t produce cranes in Brazil and wind power projects require 500 or 600 ton equipment.” But the director of the Tome Group, Washington Moura, says the company has more equipment than is necessary to meet the demand. “I have two 1,200 ton cranes lying around in my yard due to a lack of demand. In Brazil, there are only 5 machines like those.” 40% of the company’s fleet of heavy cranes is idle.

Reporter Renée Pereira wrote the article (@ReneecPereira).

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