Star International Takes the Plunge and Invests in HIAB Loader Crane

Hiab stories | 7 april 2021 7:00 AM

A specialist marine and offshore service supplier which operates worldwide has invested in a brand-new HIAB loader crane on a Volvo chassis to streamline its growing operations.

The impressive 638E-7+JIB150-6 HIAB loader crane has been installed onto a Volvo FH 8x2 and features jib and hoist attachments, creating up to 13 lifting solutions for Liverpool-based Star International.

This bespoke truck and loader crane will add to Star International’s ability to offer ship owners full turn key service packages, whereby they can now lift directly from the quayside onto the vessels all of the goods and services offered.

These include services such as liferaft’s, Marine Evacuation Systems (MES), fire suppression and extinguishing systems without the need to rely on the availability of port infrastructure.

Matthew Ball, managing director for Star International said the investment was part of its long-term strategy to be more flexible and responsive to customers whilst upskilling the workforce.

“This new HIAB loader crane will have a significant impact on how we operate as a business. The nature of working with customers at ports all over Europe means we have to remain flexible. Poor weather conditions and tidal times can have a big impact on timescales, we need to be available 24/7 and be ready to lift equipment off the vessels the minute they arrive into a port, so having access to our own lifting equipment will bring huge benefits,” he explained.

“We are the only supplier of our kind within Northern Europe and we specialize in the supply and installation of marine safety equipment for the leisure, commercial and military markets. For the last 25 years we have been supplying, installing and certifying equipment onto vessels.

“No one job is ever the same. Our team must refine installation plans depending on the location, weather conditions, size and shape of the host vessel, so it’s vital that we have the right equipment to manage the job safely.

“Before investing in the HIAB loader crane, we hired specialist lifting equipment in. This can be costly and has its limitations in terms of availability. We have ambitious plans to grow and this recent investment is part of our strategy to deliver cost savings to the customer and be more responsive.”

Four people from Star International received in-depth training from Wayne Clarke of Cheshire Training Solutions at Hiab’s head office in Ellesmere, Shropshire.

Matt added: “As well as adding to our fleet, we’re using the investment as an opportunity to upskill our workforce. Having the capability to carry out the installations with our own equipment also means our team has a greater work-life balance. We can plan ahead for out of hours and weekend work so the team know in advance when they will be asked to work away from home. It’s a win- win for everyone.”

David Langley has been working with Star International for ten years. He said: “We’re familiar with to using articulated lorries and mobile cranes but we’ve never had our own crane before. Hiring them in can take up to 48 hours, depending on availability so we’re excited to have our own kit to use. It will make the job a lot easier. “Hiab organized five days of training which covered everything from safety measures, using the jib and hoist and all remote-controlled operations. It’s an impressive bit of machinery and seems incredibly smooth and easy to use; I’m looking forward to testing it out in a real setting soon.”

The loader crane is operated using remote control and Star International will be using Hiab’s HiConnect technology to track crane usage and operator performance.

Matt added:” The HiConnect technology will give us some really useful insight into the crane’s performance so we can monitor fuel consumption, plan ahead for any maintenance and reduce downtime. We’ve made a significant investment and want to make sure that it is working for us as a business, it’s pretty clear HiConnect will enable us to do that easily. We have a 12-month testing window and, if successful and it works, there is every chance we will be adding to the fleet.”

Ian Bebb, regional manager North for Hiab UK said: “This was an exciting project to work on with Thomas Hardie Commercials Ltd and Star International. Every aspect of the build was considered to design the crane and Volvo chassis to meet the very specific needs of Star International. The team need to lift up to 1.5 tonnes at up to long reach so it’s been a real collaboration.

“This loader crane is one of the most advanced offering up to 13 alternative lifting solutions. It’s a new venture for Star International and one which I am confident they will quickly see the benefits of.”

Star International was established in 2005 and has a fleet of 17 vehicles including 40-tonne articulated lorries, 7.5 tonne curtain side and flatbed trucks, 3.5 tonne vans all with tachographs fitted and ADR equipped. The 40-strong team operates across UK and Europe with its head office in Liverpool they also have depots in Southampton and Truro.