Complicated Problems, Creative Solutions

Industrial & Crane Services
Written by Grace McDermott

Industrial & Crane Services (ICS) is an innovative leader, pioneering a new era of advanced crane services. For years, the company has had a strong presence in the maritime industry, but today, ICS has expanded into the industrial services, manufacturing and field machining sectors.
ICS started as a small veteran-owned company in 2003. Robert Todd Williams, the founder, had a long history in the business of cranes when he decided to set out on his own, creating what began as a sales-based operation. The firm progressed steadily throughout the early 2000s until an event in 2010 that changed everything.

After a large storm slammed through the Caribbean and damaged a significant number of ship-to-shore cranes, ICS led a two-year project, getting one of the region’s largest ports back in operating order. As a result of its successes in the Bahamas, the firm’s industrial reputation grew, and demand for its highly specialized crane services increased globally.

Since this project in 2010, the company has seen substantial growth, and today, ICS is one of the few US-owned firms competing in the sector that has historically been dominated by international entities. ICS’ rise to the top was initially driven by reputation, however, in recent years, substantial capital investment and an expansion of in-house capabilities has taken it to new frontiers.

Today, ICS is home to a top-of-the-line fleet, forty full-time staff, and a network of hundreds of other laborers. With annual sales touching upwards of twelve million dollars, ICS’ potential has exploded in terms of both revenue and reach.

ICS’s service offerings have pushed the boundaries of industrial expectation and the company’s business structure now covers everything from maritime container shipping and shutdowns to overhauls, turn-around projects and even emergency repairs.

Although the majority of ICS’s major works are in the continental US, the firm also carries out projects throughout the Caribbean islands, Latin America and even Africa. “We are willing to go wherever we need to complete the job,” Chief Operating Officer Charlie McVea said.

The company slogan of “creative solutions to complex problems” is founded on a commitment to solid customer relationships. Remaining at the forefront of the historically competitive industry is no easy feat, but it has taken up the challenge by ensuring quality through constant innovation and personalized service.

ICS’ reach has expanded vastly in recent years, but the firm has held to its core ideal of customer service. “We pride ourselves in response times and our creativity, we walk into a job and are fully prepared when we get there,” McVea affirmed.

ICS brings to the table not only results, but timeliness. “We feel confident that we will be the quickest and produce the least amount of issues, whichever service we provide to you.” When it comes to crane services, time is money, which is why its promise is one with which clients the world over can get on board.

But why is ICS’s approach to a project so different from the others? According to McVea, the key to quality is strategic planning, which is ultimately dependent on the experience level of staff.

“One thing that really sets us apart is that we are not trying to figure out the job once we get on site. We do a lot of work in anticipation of the project, so when we arrive on site, our employees have a mission and know what they are trying to accomplish.”

ICS delivers the potential of a major multinational, but the attention to detail which can only be delivered from a smaller corporation. Like the larger providers, its fleet of equipment is cutting-edge, first-class engineered, brand new and regularly serviced. Unlike a larger provider, ICS is able to commit to a project at a reasonable price, as it is able to save on the tremendous overheads that other providers are forced to carry.

The company avoids change orders at all costs and is founded on the core principle of providing services at true cost. “We find the best way to get a project done in a timely fashion, because time is money… The price we give you is the honest price for the work it takes to complete a job, and customers really appreciate that.”

“You may have an issue you are thinking is too complex to complete. Our goal is to prove, through our creativity and experience, that there is a solution. When the project is hard, that’s when we do our best work,” said Charlie McVea.

ICS specializes in all things crane, including port services, industrial services, fabrication and field machining. However, most recently, the company has gained notice for its innovative approach to lifting. In keeping with its commitment to come up with “creative solutions to complex problems”, ICS is constantly reinventing and repurposing technologies to meet the particular needs of its clients.

Strand jacks are the primary equipment used in a process that has traditionally been used to horizontally pull massive objects and structures in the resource and construction industries. Created as a pulley system, strand jacks have been in operation for decades, but ICS is one of the first US companies to deploy this technology for heavy lifting to respond to the complex industrial needs of the twenty-first century.

When it comes to maritime containers, the major challenge during shipping comes as a result of unbalanced weights in each corner. Standard lifting techniques have often failed to compensate for this scenario, presenting a substantial challenge when it comes time for the containers to be lifted.

ICS have taken strand jack technology to the maritime environment. Through the use of strand jacks, the company rebalances the containers, creating a stable system which facilitates slower, more controlled and ultimately safer lifts. The integrative procedure relies on software and several types, sizes and shapes of strand jacks allowing the company to raise these containers safely from below.

ICS has become known for its revolutionary use of strand jacks, but the firm continues to push the boundaries and has made strides towards applying this technology to other sectors. Bridges are one area in which ICS has begun deploying this technology most recently. In the future, ICS is aiming to implement the procedure offshore and in deep water.

In January of this year, ICS embarked on a major endeavor with Tote Cranes Inc. and Sea Star Lines LLC. Three ship-to-shore cranes, which weighed in at just over 1300 tons a piece, made the journey from Savannah, Georgia all the way to San Juan, Puerto Rico. With the assistance of approximately 150 crew members, the company, using the strand jacks system, cut the cranes free and lowered them down to the ground, securing everything on a barge for transport. It then transported and erected the three cranes.

ICS has a portfolio of interesting projects currently taking place and an even longer list of upcoming projects. This year, ICS completed the simultaneous refurbishment of two ship-to-shore cranes at Port Canaveral; emergency repair storm damage in Freeport, Bahamas; and major crane repairs for the Georgia Port Authority, in the US.

ICS’ technological capabilities have become a significant point of difference for the firm. It has recently purchased a new Manitiowoc 999 crane as well as a growing fleet of self-propelled mobile trailers (SPMTs), transport vessels and other large equipment. However, according to McVea, the company’s fleet expansion is nowhere near complete. “We are going to continue to invest and expand our fleet of equipment that we have. We plan on seeing major growth in the upcoming year.”

Although technological innovation may draw clients in, it is service that keeps them. In the end, it is the people at the heart of ICS who will ensure its place in North American industry for decades to come.

“Our employees are the thing which ICS is proudest of, hand down. Our guys are a step above, you are not just getting someone passing through to do this work. Our staff have a tremendous amount of experience and, as a result, carry themselves in a different way,” said McVea.



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