It is somewhat fitting that Liebherr, 40 years after fulfilling its first mobile harbour crane order, expects to surpass its previous delivery record for such systems. The manufacturer installed 102 cranes globally in 2008 and, despite not being able to disclose exact figures, Liebherr fully expects to beat this number when 2014 draws to an end.

Central to this success was the month May, in which the company sealed 20 new orders, which have a value in excess of 60m Euros.

Matthias Mungenast, sales director for Liebherr mobile harbour cranes, explains: "Liebherr managed to achieve a significant rise in deliveries of mobile harbour cranes, despite the fact that the world economy grows only moderately. This year, we expect our market share to be in the range of 70 per cent, underlining our market-leading position.

"Our customers highly value the quality of our products and our ambitions to continuously improve productivity through innovation. The balanced mixture of new and follow-up orders confirms the outstanding competitiveness of our products as well as the high satisfaction level of existing customers."

Liebherr Maritime Cranes has enjoyed success in the sector thanks to its ongoing commitment to the field. Demand for such technology was comparatively small when the manufacturer entered the market in 1974.

The firm experienced 20 years of "moderate" but constant business and it finally fulfilled its 100th harbour crane delivery in 1994, supplying double-digit deliveries for the first time.

Moving forward to 2012, Liebherr achieved another major milestone with the delivery of its 1000th mobile harbour crane to Montoir Bulk Terminal, based in France. And as of 2014, the manufacturer has supplied more than 1200 units to nearly 100 countries all over the world.

"Remarkable is the exponential increase in demand. While it was taking 31 years to sell the first 500 Liebherr mobile harbour cranes, the next 500 have been accomplished in less than seven years. This is testament to the enduring increase in demand for flexible cargo handling solutions," the company explained. It added: "Europe is traditionally the strongest region and has again heavily invested in the versatility of Liebherr mobile harbour cranes. In Germany, the strongest mobile harbour crane available in the market, type LHM 600, has recently started operation for Wallmann & Co., representing the fourth LHM unit in their cargo handling fleet. All in all, companies in not less than thirteen European countries have received LHMs to boost their port operation this year. "The ongoing economic development in many African countries also stimulates demand for highly efficient port equipment.

Earlier this year, Liebherr announced a major order intake. A purchasing association of Algerian port operators has opted for 20 Liebherr mobile harbour cranes. Thanks to this large mobile harbour crane order, the total number of LHMs delivered to Algeria nearly doubled and jumped to 43. Many more units were delivered to African countries, including Angola, Nigeria and Senegal." According to Liebherr, customers based in the Americas have invested in mobile harbour cranes on a strong level throughout the year and especially in Latin America, the firm has experienced a rise in demand with more than 50 order intakes during the last four years.

Specific examples include Peru, Callao S.A. which ordered two LHM 550s, which are said to have significantly increased container and bulk capacity in the port that already had two LHM 550s in operation since 2012. Elsewhere, in Asia and Oceania the number of deliveries has been higher than expected at the beginning of the year, with Bothra Shipping Services in India, which operates five LHM units, opting to double its fleet.

The company has expanded with the addition of two new LHM 550s that will be delivered in 2014 and also a further three machines, type LHM 550, in 2015.

Liebherr said: "Ports continue to purchase new cargo handling equipment in order to cope with growing volumes or due to modernization processes. As a solid investment, mobile harbour cranes provide the flexibility and productivity many ports are looking for.

"More and more ports opt for the most successful mobile harbour crane design in the market, which results in a well-filled order book. For that reason, Liebherr is optimistic that the demand for its mobile harbour cranes will continue to be very high in the near future."