The expo is the annual trade show for the inland and intracoastal marine transportation industry, which is a target market for the manufacturer and its recently acquired business, Pullift Corporation, a provider of standard and custom material handling equipment, including winches.
Camron Ghanemi, vice president at Ace, said: "I was encouraged by recent comments from Michael Toohey, the president of the Waterways Council, who referenced 'record funding' to modernize the nation's inland waterways transportation system. He also spoke of the importance of recapitalizing this critical link in the transportation supply chain to prepare for export growth. These are positive noises as the sector looks to equip itself for such investment and growth."
Inland Marine Expo attendees included engineers and purchasing decision makers from ports and terminals; barge and towing companies; fleeting and harbor services firms; dredging companies and marine contractors; inland shipyards and repair facilities; and government agencies.
Ghanemi said: "As we look to make further inroads into the inland waterways market, it was opportune to attend a trade exhibition that we had heard attracted a serious audience of decision makers from the sector—and it lived up to the billing. Charging attendees certainly eliminated tire-kickers."
Ace has steadily grown its presence in the marine market following the supply of a 30t gantry crane with a 10t auxilliary hoist to the Port of Chicago around five years ago. The sector took further note when in 2014 the crane manufacturer purchased Pullift, which makes winches, a key product to material handling operations at ports.
Ghanemi said: "We had a multifaceted approach to a show that we knew represented a great opportunity for us to cultivate contacts and take a snapshot of the market as we look to execute a H2 2016 plan to increase our supply of lifting equipment and winches into the sector."
He explained: "In addition to market research and networking, we wanted to promote our gearbox manufacturing capability to prospective customers and discuss possible distribution opportunities of specialist products that we don't provide, such as the capstan winches, which are very popular in port material handling."