Buyers market for used cranes

By D.Ann Shiffler02 March 2021

Inventories are up and prices are down.

Demand for used cranes depends on the type of crane, according to Exact Cranes’ Jack Swan. Buying and selling cranes is the main source of business for Exact, and Swan stays current on the new and used market.

Crane owners are trying to sell their older cranes to update their fleets with newer models.

“Boom trucks have been good, rough terrains and crawler cranes have been very soft,” he said. “The all-terrain market has been very slow on both older and late model machines. It seems most of the operated and maintained fleets are quite slow. Buyers are wanting to trade something old and worn out to buy a [newer] crane.”

Prices lower

For the most part, used crane prices have been lower than normal. “There seems to be an abundance of used cranes on the market and lots of cranes at auctions,” Swan said. “The cranes that are selling are priced substantially lower than last year. The high hour cranes are difficult to sell. Buyers are concerned about the amount of hours on the cranes.”

In 2020 there was an increase in demand for used cranes, but buyers were very price conscious, Swan said.

Ness+Campbell’s John Anderson agreed that the market is flush with cranes. He said prices are “holding their own, but there are some good deals to be made, especially at auctions.”

For the most part, used crane prices have been lower than normal.

“With the current pandemic and political climate, everybody is just playing it safe and not getting too aggressive with the purchase of new or used cranes,” he said. Ness+Campbell will likely sell off some of its older units and replace them with newer versions.

The market is not very good and prices are lower than the norm, said TNT Crane & Rigging’s Mike Appling.

The market will remain “weak until things turn around sometime in 2021,” he said. TNT will endeavor to sell some of the cranes in its fleet, Appling said.

Equipment auctions have been flooded with cranes of all makes and models. The spring auctions may see a record number of cranes for sale.

Fleet reorganization

Waggoner Cranes’ Alana Yount said market uncertainty has led to fleet reorganization. Older and non-essential equipment are more prevalent. If the supply increases, prices could decrease even more, she said.

“Companies are reorganizing their fleets. This means selling under-used equipment, buying a piece of equipment that is in high demand or both. We may look into selling a few cranes if the prices do not drop off. We do not foresee purchasing any used equipment as of right now.”

As Swan noted, companies are trying to cost-effectively update their fleets. When the economic picture improves, perhaps they will start buying new cranes again.

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