Infrastructure snapshot: the Belt and Road Initiative

With infrastructure a key focus for countries around the world, we take a look at the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how Manitowoc is supporting this extensive program. We also report from a BRI project in China.



Around the world, governments are advancing infrastructure programs to help bring better standards of living to their populations. One of the best-known is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), being run from China. Launched in 2013, this long-term policy has seen investments reach East Asia, Europe, and Africa. Understandably, with so much construction and infrastructure work, cranes from Manitowoc are heavily involved.


Brian Wang, SVP of Emerging Markets at Manitowoc, said BRI is not just about creating new infrastructure but spurring economic growth in the countries that are involved.


"The Belt and Road Initiative is a program to deepen regional cooperation and connection on a trans-continental scale,” he said. “We are proud to have featured on projects and know there are many to come. What’s most encouraging is to see how this infrastructure will improve the lives of so many people from so many countries. New roads, schools, bridges, airports, and more are making it easier for communities to do business while also raising standards of living.”


Trusted cranes


Given the scale and importance of BRI it’s no surprise contractors are looking for cranes they can trust. For over 100 years, Manitowoc has been behind some of the world’s biggest infrastructure developments, and that continues through BRI.


“Cranes from Manitowoc have always been at the heart of the world's infrastructure development, and we know that with our cranes, contractors can fully leverage the opportunities that BRI presents," confirms Brian Wang.

Many of the cranes being sold to BRI projects come from the Manitowoc factory in Zhangjiagang, China. Here a range of Potain tower cranes are manufactured, and over the past five years the factory has delivered over 2,000 into countries associated with BRI.


Potain's MCT topless cranes have been the bestselling models into BRI projects, accounting for over half of sales. Also popular is the MCH range of hydraulic luffing jib cranes and the MCR range of standard luffing jib cranes. All are sold via Manitowoc’s extensive network which includes industry-leading parts and product support.


Case study: airport build in China



One BRI project that currently features Potain cranes is the reconstruction and expansion of Nanning Wuwei International Airport in Guangxi. With an accelerated construction timetable the contractor on the project, China Construction Eighth Bureau, was looking to place several cranes onsite, and reliability was a must. With lots of precast components to lift, high capacity and good strength across the load chart were also needed.


Given this, the contractor opted for nine Potain MCT 275 K12 cranes. With a maximum capacity of 12 t (13.5 US t) they have the strength to handle the precast modules, while their 70 m (227 ft) jib allows them to cover wider areas. With their intelligent design, the contractor was also able to easily assemble them within the restricted working space.


"Nanning Wuwei International Airport is a great example of what BRI projects are like. An accelerated build schedule and modular construction for a high-profile infrastructure job. Contractors are looking for reliability, performance, and ease of operation. We’re finding that it’s so important for them to use a brand they trust, and that’s why we’re involved in so many conversations about these projects,” says Brian Wang. “Our commitment to providing the best cranes, backed by the best service makes Manitowoc the number one crane choice for large-scale infrastructure projects."


On completion in 2023, Nanning Wuwei International Airport will serve as a global hub, connecting to the international and BRI aviation networks. It’s just one example of how investment in infrastructure benefits countries and how Manitowoc is helping bring that to reality.