Reaching out

MultiDocker manufactures cargo handlers. Its product range includes hydraulic material handlers, container handlers, large material handlers and continuous loading/unloading systems, and the company provides a full complement of technical assistance services for clients across the world. When first established in the early 1990s as a subsidiary of Östertröms Group, the aim was to transform the inefficient method of loading/unloading cargo present at the time. It forged strong links with Caterpillar and used the basic Caterpillar excavator design to create the MultiDocker Cargo Handler (CH), which was and remains the product portfolio’s keystone model.

The MultiDocker CH has been a leading product in the cargo handling market since its inception, offering the reliability associated with Caterpillar machines to dockside and onshore materials handling. It is available in a number of different sizes including the CH74D with a 17.6 tonne maximum lift capability and 24.8 metre reach, and the 22.4 tonne CH85C with 27 metre reach that was launched in November 2011. The designs can be used for lifting round timber, bags, gravels, scrap metal and many other materials.

All are powered by the company’s proprietary E-Power electric engine system, introduced at the end of 2010, which improves fuel efficiency by up to 40 euros per hour and reduces the amount of smoke, pollutant and noise emissions. Leading quality components have been used in the build to provide a number of innovative features, such an Emotron frequency convertor that allows the speed and power of the E-Power to be precisely controlled by regulating RPM. Furthermore it is built around engines by VEM that are renowned for their reliability, thereby reducing maintenance and repair and thus the total lifecycle cost. All models are also offered with standard Caterpillar diesel engines.

MultiDocker also manufactures a selection of accessories for the CHs to extend the comfort and capability of the user. This includes features for improved security such as stick-mounted industrial cameras with in-cabin colour monitors, rear-view camera systems, additional undercarriage work lights and on-board fire suppression systems. Other extra equipment is aimed at improving usability, for example a third pedal for forward travel, automated lubrication systems, extra 3000-litre fuel tank and cold weather starting aids.

In addition to small- and mid-sized container handlers and large heavy lift material handlers, MultiDocker has branched into loading/unloading systems. Recognising that increasing vessel sizes means demand for bigger systems, the company has invested in the design and production of large-scale ship-to-shore cranes for bulk ports. These have been created in collaboration with Östertröms Group and major Chinese maritime engineering firms.

Following many years of working in China and the rapid strengthening of the country’s economy over the last decade, MultiDocker decided to establish a permanent presence in the region to better serve the local market. In 2010 branch offices were set up: MultiDocker Heavy Machineries Hong Kong Ltd and MultiDocker Heavy Machineries Shanghai Ltd. Co-operation agreements have been penned with two Chinese firms to help the subsidiaries achieve their founding principle of development to suit the demands of the local and international market.

The first of these is with Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science & Technology Development Co, a major manufacturer of onshore construction machinery with which MultiDocker will share sales networks. The second is Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co (ZPMC), a regionally significant producer of heavy equipment for both onshore and offshore industries. This partnership will see the two companies share not only their sales networks but also knowledge and manufacturing capabilities.

One of MultiDocker’s key strengths as an equipment manufacturer is that it has more than just manufacturing experience: it is owned by shipping company Östertröms Group, providing an intrinsic understanding of the logistical demands of its end users. Adapting this knowledge and combining it with client feedback, MultiDocker has been able to create machines that prove reliable, safe and efficient for all parties involved. This has led it to having a successful business with over 60 machines currently in service to third parties and a turnover of ten million euros annually, even with a relatively small staff roster of 15 people.

Looking forwards, the company already has projects in the pipeline. In 2012 it will be launching the CH49E, a machine aimed at the smaller end of the market with a lifting capacity of 15 tonnes and reach of 21 metres. It is based on Caterpillar’s 349E excavator design. With this it will attempt to break into new markets with lower lifting expectations, putting the company is a great position for the future. MultiDocker already has the trust and respect of its clients and as the word spreads – particularly through its new presence in the Far East – so will the company’s opportunities.

Established two Chinese branches in 2010
Rapidly expanding its product portfolio
Part of the Östertröms Group shipping line