Metagro eyes retrofit market and direct deals

In-Depth

Metagro, a Dutch-based cabin manufacturer, aims to change terminal operators’ reliance on OEMs by advocating direct consultation for cabin upgrades.

Metagro, one of the leading manufacturers of cabins for cargo handling equipment, sees the retrofit market as becoming increasingly important.

“Where investment on cranes can extend to a period of 30 years, many cabins on equipment are now 15-20 years old and due for a mid-life upgrade according to our clients,” explained Andreas van Meeteren, commercial director at Metagro. “Technologically and ergonomically, cabins are very different these days and a cabin that is comfortable and well organised is critical if drivers are to deliver consistently good levels of productivity.”

Many terminal operators and port authorities approach the OEMs of cargo handling equipment – STS, RTG, RMG, etc – when ordering a new cabin, without consulting a cabin specialist first. Metagro would like this to change. It wants to encourage more direct consultation with operators.

Van Meeteren stressed that with 30 or so partnerships across the world, Metagro is in a strong position to help advise companies on whether or not to change their cabins and carry out installations. Partly too, Metagro wants to deal with what it refers to as something ‘lost in translation’.

“Four years ago we acquired Merford Cabins, but it seems we have somehow lost connection with many terminal operators, who do not really know that we still deliver high quality products and it is just that our name has changed,” said van Meeteren. “We have to change this and that means working with terminal operators/stevedores even better and more closely than we did in the past on providing the right advice, as well as on providing service and active service support.”

In terms of the market, Metagro reckons that in the STS sector alone an extensive number of cabins could be replaced each year, based on cranes which are 20+ years of age. This number rises significantly when other handling equipment is taken into account with the company estimating the total pool of STS, RTGs, RMGs in service is several thousand pieces of equipment worldwide (based on gained market information).

“In refurbishment cases, the cabins are not removed from the cranes as they are an important back-up,” he said. “We are not bound to whether the original cabin is ours. Our dedicated engineering teams are able to adapt to any existing situation and make.

“On those occasions (or green fields) where the client does choose to automate, our subsidiary company OPS-Factor is very well able to assist them in this process by helping in the design of the Remote Operator Control Stations, by providing ergonomically designed workstations, special furniture for supervisors and planners, acoustic and lighting solutions. While automation can reduce the number of operators required, human operation remains a critical part of the business process affecting output, service, safety and security.”

Metagro offers customers a 20-year warranty with its products nowadays, as a token of trust in its own quality. For those companies wanting to go “that extra mile” Metagro is able to offer stainless steel cabins.

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