Front line overhead cranes vital to troop supply chain in Afghanistan
When High Peak MP Andrew Bingham joined a fact-finding mission to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan he was not expecting to be reminded of home.
Nevertheless, during a tour of the maintenance workshops, where armoured cars are serviced and repaired, he came across two cranes manufactured in Chapel-en-le Frith by Street Crane Company.
“I already knew that Street Crane exported around the world, but to actually see their cranes in action away from High Peak really brought home how far afield they go and how much of a global exporter they are,” Bingham commented.
Camp Bastion is a settlement of 30,000 military personnel and support staff. It covers an area the size of Wigan or Reading. In addition to troop accommodation it has a major airport and heliport with all the associated service workshops, warehousing and infrastructure. The perimeter of the camp is almost 40 km.
The Street Crane factory produces around 400 complete cranes per year, the majority of which are for the UK market. This makes the installation at Camp Bastion exceptional as most of the company’s export sales are of the major electro-mechanical components such as hoists, bogies and controls. Only when a customer such as the British Army or a contractor with a major capital project such as a power station need complete cranes and the structures cannot be made locally, is it practical and economic to ship the whole crane package from the UK.
Exports make up around 75% of Street Crane Company’s business. Managing director Andrew Pimblett explained, “We now have over 60 overseas distributors, the majority of who manufacture cranes for their own local market. We made a commitment to export over 15 years ago, a move that has been very successful. Our customers make the major structures such as crane beams and gantries and we supply from the UK higher value engineering components that we can manufacture to a consistent quality and at a scale that makes them competitive.