ICm20: World’s largest crane manufacturers

Last year’s single digit fall in the overall total has this year gone into double-digits but those people most affected will be reaching for a bottle for one of two opposite reasons. Alex Dahm reports.

The overall total for 2023 ICm20 ranking of the world’s largest crane manufacturers shows a large, 10.3 per cent, drop in its total value (after converting all the total sales into US dollar figure amounts).

While it is one of the biggest drops ever and the biggest since 2015’s 10.97% fall, there is an exchange rate influence exacerbating that too.

Such a decline has been a longer time coming than some may have expected, to some extent perhaps showing the traditional six-month time lag between changes in fortune in general construction and in the crane sector.

Total sales

This year’s total combined sales for the top 20 crane manufacturers in the world was US$31,778,792,536, down by a not inconsiderable $3.7 billion on the previous year’s sales total of $35,431,553,926.

Thankfully, it is not all gloom and doom. It is by no means an across the board decline, far from it in fact, as 14 of the 20 companies showed growth, much of it substantial.

The biggest falls, by a very long way, are among the Chinese manufacturers XCMG, Zoomlion and Sany. These rapidly rose in the last five years or so to become the first, second and fifth largest, respectively, in the world.

Once again, that phrase ‘what a difference a year makes’ comes to mind. The 2022 figure was a drop from the previous year, yes, but only by something over 4 % and nowhere near that of the subsequent 12 months running up to this year’s table.

For quite some time commentators spoke of unsustainable growth and the dangers of an overheating economy in China. There followed a major collapse in the Chinese market. Contractors and rental companies stopped buying new cranes almost as quickly as they had started buying them.

This domestic market collapse led to the ICm20 table returning to somewhere closer to how it was “back in the day”, in 2020 and earlier. First, Liebherr is now firmly back at the top, regaining the number one spot after it had been relegated to third since the 2021 ICm20 by the meteoric rise of the Chinese manufacturers.

It should be noted Liebherr has also been growing, both steadily and strongly by around 5 % a year. In the all terrain crane sector over the last five years or more it has greatly increased its market share, at the expense of all the other AT manufacturers.

Chinese manufacturers

Back to China and the two largest manufacturers, XCMG and Zoomlion, are now down to third and sixth places, respectively, in the 2023 ICm20, thanks to 41 and 48 %, declines in sales. Sany is similarly afflicted with a 46 % drop in sales pushing it from 5th to 8th place. While the other remaining Chinese manufacturer in the table, ZPMC, which makes port and industrial cranes, bucked the trend with a 19 % increase, it still lost a place, now in 5th.

Cargotec displaced ZPMC with a strong three place rise from 7th last year. Sales were up by almost a quarter, across the Finland-headquartered group which consists of its Hiab loader crane, Kalmar port crane and MacGregor offshore crane manufacturing divisions.

The other big climber, also based in Finland, is port and industrial crane maker Konecranes, back in second place where it hasn’t been since 2020, now swapping places with Zoomlion, in sixth.

Manitowoc in 7th gained a place having posted a good run of financial results with strong sales growth at 18.2 %. Then in the middle of the table there is the consistent presence of Tadano, Palfinger and Columbus McKinnon, in 9th, 10th and 11th, respectively.

All but one of the remaining manufacturers in the table, from 12th to 19th place, are where they usually are except for being one place higher. That is at the expense of the one exception, Kato, for which we now have more detailed data which is responsible for its change in position.

Aside from three of the Chinese manufacturers almost all the remaining companies increased their sales over the previous year, at least when comparing figures in their reporting currencies.

Percentage-wise the prize for the biggest rise goes to Manitex, up 29.5 %, closely followed by Tadano (25 %) and Cargotec (24.2 %). Manitowoc, Sennebogen and Fassi were the other manufacturers firmly into double-digit increases.

Notes on the ICm20

Figures used in this ICm20 table for November 2023 are from calendar year 2022 or the 12 month financial year to 31 March 2023. Where possible the year-on-year percentage change figures for sales revenue mentioned in the article are calculated in the reporting currencies of the manufacturers. This is to avoid the effect of exchange rate fluctuation. In some cases the figures are supplied by the manufacturers.

Where stated, the percentage changes are calculated from the figures given in the table which are conversions to US dollars from the various reporting currencies. For the figures in this year’s table the exchange rates from the reporting currencies into US dollars are listed in the table below.

Each year’s table should be taken as a snapshot in that there are occasionally changes in one table made to the previous year’s figure the next year, for example, if new data for the year becomes available after one year’s table was published that data may be substituted in the next table. Attempts are made at appropriate explanation in those instances.

Some companies, often based in Asia, are changing their reporting from an April to March financial year to a January to December calendar year. Three quarters plus the next one will be used for the first year until a full new calendar year of figures is available.

Exchange rates on 20 November 2023 from xe.com (The ICm20 table does not account for exchange rate fluctuations from year to year).

US$1 = €1.09

US$1 = JPY 148.41

US$1 = CNY (RMB) 7.17

US$1 = RM (MYR) 4.67


Receive the information you need when you need it through our world-leading magazines, newsletters and daily briefings.

Sign up