• European Equipment Analysis: Mobile Cranes - France

This report concerns the markets for mobile cranes, on wheels and on crawler tracks, in France. The last report on the subject was published in 2016. The types of mobile cranes covered in this report are described below.


All terrain cranes dominate the market for rental cranes in France and are available from 30 tonnes to 1,200 tonnes’ lift capacity. Originally conceived in the late 1970s, the all terrain machine was designed to have the mobility of a truck-mounted crane whilst at the same time having the ability to operate in rough terrain conditions.

In addition, this type of crane has:
• Extra-large tyres to increase the ground clearance and improve floatation off-road.
• A short chassis with multiple axles.
• Multi-wheel drive. In many machines all the axles are driven but it is possible for the client to economise by having some of the axles not driven. Usually, all axles are steered as well.
• Differential wheel locks, both transverse and lengthways.
• Operation from a cab on the superstructure when the crane is on-site. The exception is the City Crane, equipped with a boom carried, sloping downwards, at the side of a single cab.
• A refined suspension to give a smooth ride and enough power to drive onroad at 80 km/hour.

This design provides a number of benefits. The crane is easy to drive, equipped with an automatic gearbox and gives a smooth ride on the highway. Once on site the operator has a compact chassis to manoeuvre, which is aided by the large tyres, all of which are driven and steered. The combination of a crane with a high road speed and the ability to drive off-road has made all terrain cranes enormously popular in France, to the detriment of rough terrain cranes, which cannot be driven legally on highways, and truck-mounted cranes which have no off-road capability.


These machines were at one time purchased in large volumes by international
contractors for use on large sites in areas such as the Middle East, but these days are
long past. Some survive, working in refineries or chemical plants, but generally
speaking, are not widely used in France. As they are not legally allowed to be driven
on highways because of their long booms, they do not offer the transportability of
truck-mounted or all terrain cranes. Rough terrain cranes are distinguished by their
high ground clearance, which is necessary for off-road manoeuvrability, and their
large high flotation tyres.


These machines are built on crawler chassis and are generally fitted with telescopic or lattice booms. They are suitable for soft ground conditions but are also preferred for their greater lift capacity when mobility is not a priority on site. Lattice boom crawler cranes have become something of a niche product in the face of competition from all terrain cranes. The key market is now ‘duty cycle’ applications, which is to say non-lifting work such as foundation construction, dragline excavation and applications using hydraulic attachments, and at the other extreme, heavy lifting work, particularly in the erection of wind turbines for power generation. This latter application has driven significant demand over the last decade for 500 to 750 tonne capacity crawler cranes. This report also makes brief reference to the telescopic boom crawler crane segment, which has grown in popularity in recent years.


At one time, the backbone of the typical crane rental fleet, truck-mounted cranes were overtaken in the mid-1980s by the all terrain concept, so that within a few years it was assumed by many that the French market for truck cranes was effectively nonexistent. A small number remain as a niche product, as they can offer a chassis with a much longer life (in kilometres travelled) than an all terrain crane.


This report excludes tower cranes, which are extremely popular in all sizes in France; truck-mounted loader cranes, which are employed in the delivery of building materials; industrial cranes and all types of overhead travelling crane.

The findings presented in this report are based on interviews in France in June 2020 with major suppliers.

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European Equipment Analysis: Mobile Cranes - France

  • Product Code:
    EU Equipment Analysis
  • Edition
    August 2021
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Tags: Europe, Global, Mobile Cranes, France