With an ample overview of the booming Brazilian construction industry, Locar Guindastes e Transportes Intermodais is Latin America’s largest company specializing in the rental of cranes and construction equipment. Sky-high growth figures and investments that lift building standards have raised the company to an enviable position on a global scale. Reuben Ford takes in the view from the top at Locar.
For an economy that has had its fair share of problems getting off the ground, Brazil is now flying high on an era of prosperity. An aerial view of the major cities would reveal countless building sights as the country’s investment in developing its infrastructure really takes off and for the civil construction industry there is no looking back.
Locar Guindastes e Transportes Intermodais is the nation’s leading heavy construction equipment rental company. Offering a broad range of aerial suspension and cargo lifting cranes and special transportation vehicles, the company has supplied major building projects, not only in Brazil but in countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador and Angola. “We are a 100 percent Brazilian company, founded and developed in Brazil. However we have one of the largest fleets of equipment in the world for companies of our type, and have the potential to operate on a truly global scale,” comments Ricardo Vanderlei Vice President of Locar.
The range of machinery available to Locar’s clients is divided into six groups. More than 50 percent of the company’s revenue is generated by the rental of cranes. The company aims at exceeding the expectations of its customers by providing an extensive range of smart horizontal and vertical cargo relocation solutions. With approximately 300 cranes, including telescopic (mobile cranes) and trussed models, wheeled and on tracks, which can handle from 5 to 1,500 metric tons, Locar is continually investing in its crane fleet. The recently acquired LTM 11200 telescopic crane, for example, has nine axles and can lift up to 1,200 metric tons of cargo, suitable for operations in the petrochemical, pulp & paper and agricultural segments.
In the Maritime Services division, the company relies on a crane barges with equipment used to support the lifting of special cargo in the offshore industry, as well as offshore facilities. In addition, Locar has a line handling vessel, equipped with special technology enables greater maneuverability.
The telehandler division comprises multifunctional pieces of equipment that can lift high volume cargoes of up to 17.3 meters of height and 12.8 meters in width. Versatile and efficient, telehandlers have a range of applications such as residential and commercial constructions and agribusiness.
Locar also has aerial platform and specialized transportation divisions. The platforms comprise telescopic booms, articulated booms and scissors lifts, allowing access to high places on construction sites. The heavy and ultra heavy transportation vehicles, on the other hand, are used for carrying loads on the ground. Road transportation of special cargoes is carried out using extensible truck tractors, axle lines, pneumatic platforms, over 180 modular hydraulic accessories. Locar is the only company in Brazil to own Cometto trailers, which have a load-bearing capacity of 500 tons.
“With the quantity of technology available on the market and our extensive range, our objective is to offer the best combination of factors: high technology with trusted tradition at prices made possible by our partnerships and size,” says Vanderlei. The variety of equipment owned by Locar is a strong advantage in a competitive market. As Sales Manager Marina Simões explains “the diversity at our disposal means that we can offer everything to the client – one site, one supplier. Locar does not just rent out equipment, it offers all-round solutions.”
REACHING NEW DIMENSIONS
Thanks to considerable investment, Locar is reaching greater heights. Re-investment in expanding the fleet is a priority for the company. Increasing the quantity of large, heavy duty equipment constitutes an ongoing and costly process, but one on which Locar does not compromise. “Leading the market relies on providing top technology,” confirms Simões. “This year we made an important investment, purchasing Escalar, and aerial platform and industrial scaffolding company in the state of Minas Gerais,” she continues. The acquisition broadened the scope of Locar’s equipment adding another division and opening further opportunities.
Although the new division was a huge investment, until 2010, Locar remained focused on building up all of its sectors. The equipment is bought from overseas to ensure the best fleet available, often involving importing machines from as far afield as the US, Europe, China and even Japan.
The three-dimensional range of Locar’s equipment covers all eventualities on the ground and in the air of its clients’ construction sites, but investment has also been directed at the company’s infrastructure. In addition to the 60,000-square-meter facility in Guarulhos, São Paulo, Locar has a well-developed network of branches around the country to facilitate logistics. In each case the plants require large storage spaces for the equipment, and are strategically located. Maritime projects with National Oil Company Petrobras, for example, require nearby branches to meet demand.
The success of the investment is reflected in the impressive growth figures reported by the company. “Our growth has two marked phases,” explains Vanderlei. “From 2003 to 2008 we experienced an average 50 percent growth, and our subsequent continued success has been largely due to re-investment of these profits in technology and infrastructure.” In 2009, the economic crisis limited expansion, not because Brazil’s construction industry was tumbling, but because consumer confidence dwindled as a result of overseas events. Despite this, Vanderlei confirms that Locar continued its upward trend and in 2011, figures are back on track to resume record growth hitting the target of over $300 million in annual revenue.
STAYING ABOVE THE REST
Founded in 1988, Locar aimed high from the start. The history of the company is punctuated with important achievements such as the purchase of 80 pieces of equipment at once in 1999, which show the dedication and drive that have made it today’s market leader. With the creation of the divisions from the turn of the century, the company not only strengthened its position in the market but became a reference in the field. Owner of the largest crane in Latin America and with an ever expanding list of important clients, it has a firm hold on its lead.
“Committed to efficiency and results, we are driven by values, quality and excellence,” affirms Simões. She also cites customer service as an important differential: “We understand our clients’ needs and listen to their feedback, following market tendencies and demand to provide every solution they require.” Flexibility is paramount in an industry that is fraught with missed deadlines and delayed completion dates. Locar is a reliable option, not only adhering to contractual obligations, but honoring client/supplier relations and understanding the need for time re-management.
All of Locar’s equipment complies with safety regulations and the technical staff is highly qualified to train and certify operators. “Delivering a solution means teaching the client how to use the equipment correctly and efficiently, not just timely delivery,” says Vanderlei. Thanks to the professional and technological capability of the total 1,800 employees, Locar handles the maintenance of its own fleet and of third parties. The same technology and capability can be found in the software components employed by Locar, which enable it to anticipate risky situations, trouble shoot and provide high quality and safe services.
Locar is the one-stop solution for construction companies’ lifting equipment needs. More than offering machinery for operating at heights, the company’s quality and engineering provides the safety net that any investor looks for. Soaring toward record growth and with a strong and successful business strategy, the sky is truly the limit for Locar.