One of Latin America's biggest companies in the field of load lifting and special transportation increases its fleet of inter-modal transport. Reuben Ford describes the development of a one-stop solution provider that makes moving cargo easier.
As Brazil’s infrastructure struggles to meet economic and market demands, the nationwide lack of sufficient rail transportation and technology places a burden on industry.
Locar Guindastes e TransportesIntermodais (Locar Cranes and Inter-modal Transport) stretches out a strong and helpful hand to businesses, lifting and carrying heavy goods and cargo by land and sea.
The company has 25 years of experience in heavy-duty endeavors throughout Brazil, investing and re-investing in growth and resources. “Our focus is providing complete lifting equipment for a broad range of industries from civil construction to offshore – our expertise in a variety of fields is one of our strong points,” says José Henrique Bravo Alves, Vice President of Locar.
Using the synergy between its divisions to constantly improve products and services, Locar is a consolidated market leader.
Building a Business
The company was founded in 1988, in Guarulhos just outside Brazil’s industrial capital, São Paulo. Initially transporting heavy cargo, Locar quickly progressed to load movement, beginning investment in cranes in 1992.
“1999 was an important year for Locar. We made our first large purchase of equipment – 80 cranes – which truly marked our business growth,” Alves says.
The milestone set the investment standard for Locar. Sensing the needs of the market. In 2001 the company acquired the LR1800, manufactured by Liebherr, and at the time the largest crane in Latin America.
The intensive growth inspired the establishment of divisions – the Tower Crane Division and Platform Division were set up in 2007 and 2008 respectively, including the purchase of lifting technology and more cranes. Also in 2008, Locar launched the Maritime Division for large offshore projects, which after just two years inspired the company’s offshore base in Ilha do Governador, Rio de Janeiro. The base incorporated the LTM 11200, the largest telescopic crane in the world.
The most recent division of the company was formed in 2011, providing scaffolding for safe aerial access.
“Since 2011, our focus has been on integrating the divisions of our business to offer all-round solutions to our clients, who include petrochemical, mining, hydroelectric, steel, and manufacturing industries,” Alves explains. Locar is one of the only companies in the sector to offer such a broad range of equipment, and has become renowned for its commitment to excellence.
“Especially the Maritime Division opened new markets. We created intermodal transport and lifting solutions with floating platforms and terrestrial equipment, which no longer limited our operations to land,” Alves says. The division not only initiated petroleum projects, but also shipyard loading and river transportation contracts (port to port cargo transfer) – an important advantage in Brazil where a lack of railways leaves roads congested.
The broad spectrum of lifting services has allowed Locar to accumulate valuable know-how in operating equipment for its clients. “We provide a full service, only our aerial platforms are managed on site by the customer,” Alves clarifies.
Locar’s services are organized into six divisions: cargo lifting, transport, aerial platforms, scaffolding, cranes and maritime.
Alves explains the technology in more detail; “For cargo lifting we use telescopic cranes and lattice boom crawler cranes, on wheels and tracks for all-terrain applications, with a 15 to 1,500-ton lifting capacity.”
The transport division specializes in heavy loads – with hydraulic trailers and axles suitable for carrying cargo by road.
Locar’s aerial platforms reach heights of up to 47 meters. The diesel or electric run lifting platforms are designed for people and light loads. “The platforms are easily operated – like a giant fork-lift truck with a telescopic arm to facilitate access,” Alves explains.
The maritime fleet includes tugboats, floating platforms and cranes for loading, unloading and transportation of heavy loads.
Together with diverse scaffolding and multi-purpose cranes, Locar’s portfolio is, quite literally, huge; a fact that Alves points out requires a number of facilities throughout Brazil to allow the giant machinery to reach clients quickly and efficiently. “Each of our plants has its own fleet of equipment, which keeps transfer costs down and reduces project time. We need to be close to our clients.”
Locar has branches in the Brazilian states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Pará, Maranhão and Rio Grande do Norte. All of the facilities are coordinated and managed centrally from the 60,000-square-meter company headquarters in Guarulhos, São Paulo. A total of 2,800 staff are employed across Brazil.
“Investing in our equipment at all of our branches is a priority. We are constantly updating our fleets through new acquisitions, maintenance and replacement machinery,” Alves says.
At the end of 2012, the aerial platform division received 500 new pieces of equipment and Locar continues to buy new cranes and transport trailers, including twelve new truck tractors from international manufacturer Scania.
“In the Maritime Division we are currently the first in Latin America to invest in six-story pipe carrying platforms, which eliminates the need for mechanics. The technology, which constitutes an enormous investment is due to be launched in September 2013,” Alves reveals.
The decision where to direct spending is taken according to international market tendencies and extensive research. “Financial plans are made on a five-year basis – considered long-term in the Brazilian economy – and include investing in market predictions and technological updates,” Alves says. Locar has a large team of engineers who, together with the commercial department and directors, assess opportunities and viability in the Brazilian market.
“Investing in people is important. Our staff are responsible for management, operations and processes and training in IT systems, machinery and technology are an ongoing focus,” Alves emphasizes. “As Brazil’s infrastructure grows, few offer comprehensive training for crane operators – our level of specialization allows us to fully train personnel.”
Strategic investment has paid off. Locar reports average annual growth of 20 percent in recent years, and predicts a rise to 25 percent in 2013, thanks to the expansion of the Maritime Division and high number of current projects. Alves explains: “Our growth is strongly influenced our sizable projects – this is why our investment in shipyards has been so intensive.”
The combination of the company’s divisions and nationwide presence add to the size of projects that can be undertaken simultaneously. Close to customers, competitively priced and an important player in expanding Brazilian infrastructure, Locar gives new meaning to economy of scale.