The recently announced joint venture between Cranecorp and Tutt Bryant brings together two leading crane companies with strong links and rich heritage in Western Australia. The State holds a particularly special significance within the respective organisational histories of both companies.
Cranecorp started out as Musarra Crane Hire in 1994 with a fleet of one 25T Tadano crane, operating out of Kalgoorlie. In 1998 Goldfields Crane Hire was founded and has never looked back since. The fleet grew further with the addition of a 50T Tadano crane and the foundations of the now 100 strong fleet were laid. The first major contract secured was at Murrin Murrin, (then known as Anaconda Nickel) shortly followed by the BHP Ni-W contract and within two years the milestone of achieving a turnover of over $1m was achieved in 2000.
Over the next 12 years the company achieved a sustained and rapid growth cycle and grew to the position of the major provider of lifting services in the Goldfields Region with depots opening at Leinster and Leonora to support the business and fleet expansion to the point where the first sizable crane, a 400T Tadano was purchased to compliment the fleet of Tadano, Liebherr and Franna cranes now part of the fleet. “It was with a great sense of achievement and a dedication to customer service that we grew the business so quickly” said Rick Musarra, “I had some great people working with me and many of those people are still with us today so between us we must have got some things right”.
In 2013 in order to continue the growth trajectory, a Head Office was opened in Henderson to support a push into the Pilbara and mid-West regions. The strategy proved to be a winner as major contracts were gained including contracts and work packages with major clients such as Karara and RioTinto. “It helped that people wanted to do business with us and appreciated what we brought to the table as a crane company. The balance of high service levels and realistic pricing were very attractive to many clients” Mr Musarra recalls.
By 2017 the first CEO and CFO were employed and a couple of smaller crane company acquisitions were successfully undertaken. The fleet now included two (2) 400T Tadano cranes as well as multiple 250T, 200T and other all-terrain cranes and pick & carry cranes. Permanent staff numbers were over 50 people in addition to the 150 crane crew staff who support the shutdown work that forms a significant part of the business.
In 2020, private equity came calling and Mr Musarra decided to sell down part of his majority shareholding as did his long term business partner, Craig O’Donnell, who chose to sell down his entire equity stake. With a number of key staff taking up offers of shares within the company and Mr Musarra remaining on the Board, the new major shareholders, the Board and the Executive team bring a great energy to the business as well as much needed capital. Since their arrival the company has acquired three AC300T Demag all-terrain cranes, two AC160 T Demag all-terrain cranes, a Tadano ATF220T all-terrain crane and Tadano RT90 rough terrain crane in addition to an ongoing supply of Franna (6) and Tidd (6) pick & carry cranes. Excitement is brewing over the imminent arrival of a Liebherr LTM1500 (500T) all-terrain crane to be followed up by the new release Liebherr LTM1650 (650T) all-terrain crane.
“We have an excellent client base and depot locations across all the major regions within WA from which to continue to serve the growing customer base and continue to successfully build the business. WA has been great for us and we will continue to invest in the people of WA and the WA regions in the years ahead” commented CEO, Rod White, “The future looks for WA and Cranecorp looks extremely exciting”.
For Tutt Bryant, Western Australia is where its cranes and heavy lifting operations first commenced in the mid 1990’s.
The first ever crane in Tutt Bryant’s fleet in Australia was a Sumitomo SC700 (70t capacity crawler crane) that arrived in late 1996 and was put to work on the tunnel construction of the new Graham Farmer Freeway.
This was followed by a Sumitomo SC1500-2 (150t capacity crawler crane) and a Sumitomo SC800 (80t capacity crawler crane), which were brought to the Pilbara in 1997 to support port expansion works by BHP at Nelson Point, Port Hedland.
In 1999, a momentous step was taken with the introduction of what was then the largest crane in Western Australia – the Link-Belt LS-1018 (450t capacity crawler crane) affectionately nicknamed “Larry”. Brought in to work at the CSBP ammonia plant followed by the BP refinery, “Larry” firmly established Tutt Bryant as a leader in the Australian heavy lifting sector.
It is this legacy that Tutt Bryant continues to this day with the deployment of the CC8800-1 crawler crane, a 1,600 tonne capacity unit that is currently the largest capacity mobile crane to be based in Australia.
Another significant project was Tutt Bryant’s involvement in the North West Shelf Train IV project in 2002, where 17 cranes were mobilised, and over 27,000 crane hours were logged with no safety incidents and an availability rate of 99.8%.
In the two decades since, Tutt Bryant has supported nearly every major project in Western Australia, deploying a range of cranes and equipment to all parts of the State.
In the biggest project ever undertaken in Western Australia, Tutt Bryant supplied 38 cranes with full service support of on-site crane technicians and parts inventory for the Civils and Mechanical packages of the Gorgon LNG project.
Other highlights include Tutt Bryant’s role at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) in Henderson, where it has managed and operated the SPMT since their acquisition 10 years ago by AMC. Through its engineering and specialised transport team, Tutt Bryant has conducted some of the largest ever over-dimensional moves to be completed in Australia.
Unlike some others, Tutt Bryant maintained permanent bases in Perth and Karratha to support Western Australian industries even through the challenging periods. Its unique capabilities now extend across specialised transport, alternative lift & shift and local engineering resources.
Another strong demonstration of its commitment to Western Australia is the continued investment in the latest in lifting technology, such as the introduction of the first Manitowoc MLC650 (700t capacity crawler crane). Featuring the ground-breaking VPC counterweight system, a second MLC650 unit was recently brought in to fulfil client demand for this unique crane.
“Our early days were characterised by fast growth through the introduction of quality cranes and unwavering customer service.”
“These standards I believe have been maintained to this day, and credit must be handed to those who kicked it off, such as Rob West and John Buntain.”
Recognising that people are the basis of Tutt Bryant’s success, Mr Smith commented: “It’s incredible to think that of the first eight employees of our cranes and heavy lifting business, six are still employed by the company.”
“Unfortunately we lost John Buntain to an illness a few years ago, but his legacy still burns bright in our industry.”