Kobelco stands tall in the face of change

Singapore is one of the established markets in Asia for Kobelco crawler cranes. SEAC recently met up with Takeshi Miyashita, the new managing director of Kobelco International (S) Co Pte Ltd (KISCO), to discover more about the company’s latest activity in the country and its efforts to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

1). Mr Miyashita, Kobelco crawler cranes have been deployed throughout Singapore – on both small and large-scale construction projects. What makes the machines a popular choice among customers?

Takeshi Miyashita (TM): We have been a market leader in Southeast Asia for more than a decade, so our customers know us very well. They like the reliability, safety and comfort of our machines, as well as the service support that we provide. Kobelco cranes serve as a long-term investment for them, which can hold a good resale value.

To ensure reliability, our cranes are built with high-quality materials, parts and components (we pay attention to even the smallest details). We want to minimise the time and cost of any repairs to the machine to ensure the shortest downtime possible. 

Comfort and safety features are critical elements in the day-to-day operation, as crane operators often work for long hours. Singapore is considered a mature market in Asia, with very strict safety measures on construction sites. Operator comfort and safety in operation are top considerations in the design of our Kobelco crawler cranes.

An efficient service support system is another key factor in the customers’ decisions. Our global parts centre for cranes is strategically located in Singapore, making it a huge advantage for local customers. The facility was opened in 2015 to serve all countries outside of Japan. It shortens parts delivery times, boosting our machines’ reliability further.

Because of all these benefits, our cranes have become an asset to our customers. This is particularly the case in Singapore, where crawler crane owners are normally required to renew machines after certain years. By then, Kobelco models are still in good working condition – as long as they are well maintained – so the owners can resell their old units to less-regulated markets.

In this regard, Kobelco International (S) Co Pte Ltd launched its used equipment business in 2021. To simplify this resale process, our Kobelco crane owners can just come to us to trade in their old Kobelco machines!

As a testament to our products and services, our long-time customer and authorised crane dealer for Singapore and Malaysia, Sin Heng Heavy Machinery, has extended its partnership with us. 

Since 2021, we have received orders for about 24 units through Sin Heng, which is also a renowned provider of crane rental services in Singapore. The company has sold nearly 600 Kobelco cranes to date – reflecting customers’ continued trust in us.

2). What technology does Kobelco use to help crane owners and operators manage their fleets more efficiently?

TM: Our current Kobelco crane remote observation satellite system (K-CROSS ) allows both owners and operators to keep track of their machines. It helps minimise downtime and maintenance costs. We encourage them to take advantage of it.

This user-friendly system enables remote monitoring of the crane from the owner’s desktop. It delivers daily, weekly and monthly reports so that the owner can present the data in a simple, easy-to-read format.

It is very useful for all parties, including us. For example, when a problem occurs with our machine on the job site, we can analyse the data first before sending our service engineers, to help us provide a better solution.

If required, Kobelco can provide training for our customers so that they are able to use this system more effectively.

3). You mentioned that Kobelco is now offering a used equipment service. How can customers benefit from it?

TM: Our used equipment service was introduced in 2021 targeting Kobelco customers in Singapore who want to trade in their old Kobelco cranes for new ones. We always have stock of good-quality used Kobelco cranes.

This ‘buy-back’ initiative aims to make it easier for Kobelco owners to replace their cranes, especially in Singapore where they need to purchase new machines constantly. 

Kobelco engineers will inspect the old machines and overhaul and test these cranes to ensure optimal working conditions before putting them for sale.

Anyone interested in our used equipment service may contact us for more details (

4). Singapore’s construction industry has undergone several transformations in the last few years, even before the pandemic. Have you seen any progress in terms of cranes? 

TM: Yes, crane owners and operators are becoming more safety-conscious when it comes to equipment use and maintenance – which is a positive sign for the industry. 

With proper maintenance, we can prevent machine failure, increase safety and extend the machine’s life in general. Our service support team can assist customers in performing their machine maintenance operations.

At Kobelco, we are constantly educating our customers on the importance of good maintenance. We also provide training for our dealers all over the world to ensure they have the necessary maintenance skills.

5). The pandemic has transformed many business practices and the mindset of customers within a short period of time. How do you respond to such rapidly changing conditions? 

TM: We are aware of the rapid changes in this competitive market environment. We are constantly exploring new concepts and design ideas for our new crane products with pricing acceptable in the marketplace without sacrificing the safety and quality of our products.

However, given Singapore is a mature market in the region, we believe that many local customers will look beyond the initial buying cost of the machine. They will also think of long-term returns for their business.

Our strong partnership with Sin Heng is the best example of this, and it’s more crucial than ever in the post-pandemic era. Sin Heng is not only our dealer, but also uses our cranes to provide lifting services for various industries including construction, offshore, marine, infrastructure, geotechnical, and oil & gas. 

As an established crane rental services provider in Singapore with operations across Southeast Asia, Sin Heng has to plan for its future growth. In making a business decision, the company has taken into account the long-term benefits offered by our machines – such as reliability, safety, resale value, and more – which outweigh the initial buying cost.

Sin Heng’s decision to continue with Kobelco cranes, despite the increased range of options in the market, is a confirmation of our long-standing reputation and the high reliability of our machines that can help the company achieve its business goals.

Kobelco cranes are designed to stand the test of time – and ultimately reduce the cost of doing business for our customers.

Note: This interview has also been published in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of Southeast Asia Construction (SEAC). Click here to read online or here to download the PDF file (pages 44-45).

Anyone interested in Kobelco’s used equipment service may email the company directly, or visit the website to check out the products available. Click here for more information on KISCO and here on Sin Heng Heavy Machinery.