Ritchie Bros Auctioneers has seen a significant increase in the price of cranes sold at its North American auctions in the past year as a result of increased domestic demand and steel shortages that have affected new crane pricing.

Ken Duncan, senior valuation analyst and manager of Ritchie's Appraisal Division, told ACT that auction prices on small to medium sized truck and rough terrain cranes have risen 10% to 15% in the last 12 months, and most demand is from North America.

“We don't have large packets of cranes coming into auctions, but when they do come on the market they get very, very strong dollars”, said Duncan. He also said that demand for bigger cranes, including crawlers, was high, with demand coming globally. Cranes are a “significant” proportion of Ritchie's overall sales, and the number of cranes sold in the first quarter this year rose by 21%.

Ritchie reported a 20% increase in auction sales for the first three months of the year to $ 456 million, a record first quarter result for the company. It has also reported record auctions in the past two months at Atlanta, Denver and Edmonton, Canada.

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