ALE Heavylift

Lightening the load

Global transport and lifting solutions provider ALE is bringing to Australia’s booming resources sector a healthy mix of record-breaking machinery and world-class engineering prowess.

ALE has really given the Australian resources market a lift since entering the country as a fully-fledged entity less than two years ago.

From its base in Brisbane, the firm offers lifting, transporting, installation, ballasting and jacking solutions and forms part of a truly global company.

ALE started operating in the UK market in 1983. Once established in the UK, the company entered markets across Europe, before branching out into the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Having previously carried out a number of projects in Australia from its Southeast Asian base, the company decided to set up a fully-fledged operation Down Under.

“We recognised that there was potential for a permanent presence in Australia, largely on the back of the growth of the resource sector,” says ALE Australia general manager Paul Kelly.

ALE’s strong reputation in oil-rich parts of the world such as the Middle East has followed it to Australia, which Kelly says was a great benefit in setting up the entity.

“The fact that we’ve worked hard, developed the image of our brand and are well regarded within our industry certainly helped,” says Kelly.

The company is committed to investing in technology, systems and equipment and has in place a dedicated research and development team that was responsible for the record-breaking AL.SK190 and AL.SK350 cranes, which have the capacity to lift up to 5,000 tonnes.

Entering Oz

Just 18 months into its full entry into Australia, the company has established a clear focus on the Western Australia and Queensland markets, where the country’s resource boom is at full pace.

“We are looking at a number of opportunities in New South Wales as well, and we’re hoping that in the coming years there’ll be some development in South Australia,” says Kelly. 

“The nature of our business means that we have to follow the work around, but we are certainly looking to grow the business in Australia quite aggressively.”

The company has traditionally been a strong player within oil and gas markets across the world, and with a variety of existing contacts within the industry, as well as good relationships with a number of mining contractors, it has been able to build its presence quickly in Australia.

“We’ve been really happy with the growth of the business and, as our first-year turnover was in the region of around A$10 to 15 million, we are able to see that we could potentially increase this within five years to $50 million,” says Kelly. 

Kelly says that the firm’s technical ability and experience around the world is what sets it apart from its competitors in Australia. 

“We are bringing experience, skills and expertise that are not available in Australia and we’ve got the engineering resources that none of our competitors in the country have at the moment,” he remarks.  

“We’re able to offer more creative solutions and better ways of doing things.”

A fleet to be proud of

ALE Australia’s large fleet features a range of mobile machinery, including heavy cranes, specialist transport and installation equipment.

“We may not have the largest fleet of cranes in the world, but what we do have is a fleet of cranes that have been strategically selected and specifically chosen to meet our customers’ requirements,” Kelly notes.

“We have designed and built what are currently the two land-based cranes with the highest capacity in the world.”

“We also have a number of large off-the-shelf cranes, which have been designed to support the project industries that we service,” he adds. 

Lifting innovation

ALE is able to provide its clients with a broad range of heavy-lifting apparatus.

Its 5,000 tonne rated lift AL.SK350 has the highest capacity of any land-based lifting machine in the world. This flagship piece of equipment was designed and built by ALE’s research and development business in Holland.

The company’s commitment to research and development has ensured that it has stayed ahead of its competitors by being able to offer some of the most technologically-advanced lifting mechanisms on the planet.

“We’ve invested a lot in new technology and in pushing the boundary of what is considered the norm in the heavy-lift industry,” Kelly remarks. 

“We’ve recently invested in a new jacking system, which was tested in August of last year and is currently working on its first job.

“The ‘Mega-Jack’ system is a modular system capable of jacking up modules weighing 60,000 tonnes and beyond comfortably, which is an industry first,” he notes. 

Rather than investing in a large number of commodity cranes or commodity equipment, ALE attempts to push the more creative areas of its market where the use of ingenuity and design creativity can set it apart from its competitors.

Despite having a core focus on onshore projects using cranes, its large fleet of self-propelled trailers and innovative lifting solutions, ALE has also ventured into the marine industry, investing in barges and a focused Marine Engineering Division that takes on complex marine engineering for the offshore industry.

Aggressive growth

Backed by a successful global business and fuelled by a demanding resources sector, ALE’s presence in Australia has so far proved a success, and its growth is showing no signs of stalling.

“We are aggressively growing our business in Australia, but we’ve been around long enough to know that industries do go through fluctuations, so we’re not rushing blindly ahead,” says Kelly.

“We’re trying to develop the fundamentals of the business to ensure that we build a solid footprint in the country.”

With a large set of resources on its doorstep in Southeast Asia, and the ambition and drive to become ever more successful within Australia, ALE is likely to become a leading name within the country’s heavy-lift marketplace as it targets more business in Queensland and Western Australia. 

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