ESTA backs SPMT operator licence

Esta logo cmyk 3x2 ESTA is the European association of abnormal road transport and mobile cranes

A new crane and transport operator training organisation is being set up by European industry association ESTA.

Its first work will be on a licence for operators of self propelled modular transporter (SPMT). The European Association for Abnormal Road  Transport and Mobile Cranes (ESTA) has the backing of its Board members to establish the European Crane and Transport Operators Licence (ECTOL) organisation.

It will be formally given the go-ahead in the near future, assuming it receives the final approval of the supervisory board of the existing European Crane Operators Licence.

ECTOL will be an umbrella body to oversee both the existing European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) and the new European Transport Operators Licence (ETOL) which will initially focus on training for SPMT operators.

Development of ECTOL and the ETOL licence gathered pace in 2022 and came out of work done by ESTA’s expert SPMT working group. The group was set up to study how to improve the safety of SPMT operations and to update ESTA’s existing SPMT best practice guide.

Concern has been growing in the industry at the lack of recognised training qualifications and the need to improve safety standards as the SPMT market grows.

ESTA will develop the ETOL licence scheme using the operational and management structure of the existing European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL). This is a move that will be simpler and more efficient than creating a completely new organisation from scratch.

The members of ESTA’s SPMT working group comprise eleven of the biggest and most influential companies in the sector.

Strong demand

Manoeuvring a refinery vessel on SPMT

Ton Klijn, ESTA director, said, “There is no doubt of the huge demand for an ETOL-style licence, and the training that will be required to obtain one. We have received strong backing from companies and individuals the length of the supply chain – from clients, our transport company members and operators themselves.”

The working group’s twelve member companies are from eight countries, reflecting the widespread concern about SPMT standards across Europe. They are Collett, Cometto, DNV, Fagioli, Goldhofer, Mammoet, Sarens, Siemens Gamesa, Terra Navtica, TII Group and Wagenborg.

Creating ECTOL will require some organisational changes. The existing ECOL statutes will have to be amended and the board and Expert Committee expanded to include transport and trailer representatives from a trade union, a trailer manufacturer and a trailer industry expert, to sit alongside their crane sector counterparts.

The first edition of ESTA’s SPMT best practice guide, published in 2016, was originally intended to help address the problem of trailers occasionally tipping over, even though the existing operating rules and stability calculations had been followed.

It is still available for free download from the Library of ESTA’s website in English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.


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