One of the biggest names in shiploading and unloading equipment in the Australasian region is Page Macrae Engineering.

Known for advanced design in cargo handling equipment, the company recently completed an order for a major Australian client for two discharge hoppers and two diesel hydraulic grabs. This followed the outstanding success of a previous order two years ago from the same customer, for three grabs and two hoppers.

Their original acquisition has helped the client to achieve impressive handling efficiencies and ship turnaround times, while meeting ever-increasing environmental compliance standards for dust emission. Needless to say, they’re pretty happy about that, says Cargo Handling manager Bruce Ennis.

Thanks largely to the efficiency and durability of its package solutions for loading and unloading equipment, and its ability to custom design and manufacture machinery for specific tasks, Page Macrae has experienced strong growth in bulk grab and hopper sales in recent years.


Factors behind that growth are easy to see, as Page Macrae’s innovative grabs and hoppers handle a large range of products including fertilizers, clinker, palm kernel, grains, soda ash, mineral concentrates and sand.

With Australia in the midst of a major boom in exports of iron ore, bauxite, coal and other minerals, the name Page Macrae Engineering is gaining much attention from decision-makers when it comes to purchasing new equipment. That’s not just because of the innovative design of the brand’s products, but because of Page Macrae’s reputation for supplying equipment that can provide productivity gains, low operating costs and highly efficient dust and pollution control measures.

Their strong reputation for outstanding service and technical assistance has also helped the company win business overseas and in its home market. “We are particularly proud of the strong relationships we have built with all of our clients. We can provide a 24-hour service and can dispatch service personnel quickly, whenever and wherever they’re needed,” says Ennis.

“For instance we recently sent an engineer to assist a client in the United States who needed an urgent solution to a cargo handling problem. Within a day and a half the problem had been solved and our engineer was on his way back to New Zealand.

“We keep in touch with our clients, including travelling to their sites, to ensure we keep ourselves up to date with their operations, checking to make sure that their equipment is working the way they want it to and to advise them of our new products and their capabilities.”

One of those new products is set to attract plenty of attention: with increasingly strict environmental controls in place at ports in Australia, New Zealand, and around the world, Page Macrae Engineering has refined its hopper design with a new product that integrates a dust collection system with the hopper.

Previously the two units were separate, and the dust collection system had to be moved to wherever the hopper happened to be working on the wharf.

“It’s a new evolution in our line of equipment and it completes our dust controlled hopper package,” says Ennis.

Efficient dust emission control is a big feature of the company’s range of discharge hoppers, which provide ship-to- hopper spillage recovery, dust controlled inflow chutes and a choice of onboard or separate dust collection.

Page Macrae’s PMGrabs-branded range of diesel/hydraulic grabs is perfect for unloading and loading jobs demanding low operating height and minimum noise emissions. They are also ideal for working in difficult discharge situations because like the PMGrabs-branded wire and chain grabs, they incorporate features to cut the risk of environmental impact from product spills and produce low dust emissions.

Operated via remote control by a crane operator, the PMGrab range of diesel-hydraulic grabs are designed to discharge large volumes of bulk material from ships’ holds. They can carry up to 20t of material at a time, discharging hundreds of tonnes per hour and allowing stevedores and shipping companies to save valuable time and money, says Ennis.

Incorporating special features to control spillage, noise and dust emissions, the grabs also provide operators with significant gains in productivity.

The company’s range of wire or chain mechanical grabs stand out for their low operating costs, exceptional productivity and high digging capacity. They feature a unique overlapping blade seal that seals the material being transported, preventing leakage and solving a major headache for cargo handlers.

Ennis says Page Macrae works closely with clients in coming up with cargo handling solutions for their specific requirements. That innovative ‘can do’ approach also helps Page Macrae Engineering stay ahead of the game in a competitive global market.

The company is particularly adept at tailoring equipment to suit specific needs, which sometimes means designing and manufacturing custom discharge systems, Ennis says.

“Our clients don’t always know exactly what they want, but they do know the outcome they require. We tailor-make solutions for those outcomes and provide any advice or technical support they might need.”

Page Macrae Engineering’s aptitude for innovation in the bulk cargo equipment field and the market-leading quality and durability of its products put it in the spotlight in 2010, when it won a premium award in the annual Australian Bulk Handling Awards in Brisbane.

Based near the Port of Tauranga at Mount Maunganui on the east coast of the North Island, the 55-year-old company won the Innovative Technology category for its diesel-hydraulic grabs in the face of competition from some of the world’s leading manufacturers.

Bulk cargo handling equipment designed and manufactured at the company’s premises includes log lifters, container spreaders, container loading equipment, over-height spreaders, spreader beams, remote and manual release multi-lifters, lifting cages and lifting beams.