An acquaintance recently came back from Dubai and told me the country boasts "50 percent of the world's cranes." After picking my jaw up off the floor, I said, "Come on." He said, "I'm telling you, I've never seen so much construction in my life."
I got home that night and started to do some fact-finding. I knew the little country was experiencing a building boom, but 50%? No way.
So in Tuesday Turnip style, I Googled "Dubai" + "the world's cranes."
One site said "Experts cautiously estimate that 15% to 25% of the world's cranes are in Dubai." While another said "About 30,000, or 24 per cent of the world's 125,000 construction cranes, are currently operating in Dubai, according to the organisers of the Conmex construction machinery exhibition." Still another said Dubai was home "to an estimated 17% of the world's cranes," while The Guardian said "a fifth of the world's cranes are now at work here."
However you count them, Dubai is clearly exploding. Some 250,000 Indian and Pakistani men have been put to work under those cranes, turning the country into a massive little playground for the rich.
One of the more interesting things I culled while scouring the Web was the below quote concerning Patrick Mullaney, Tower Crane Operations Manager for Select Plant Gulf, the heavy machinery arm of Al Naboodah Laing O'Rourke.
On arrival [in Dubai, Mullaney] approached the Guinness Book of World Records [committee] to enter Dubai for the high number of cranes on the site at the time. "There were 50 cranes, all over the 12-tonne capacity. It's the most we've had at the site and we are just one contractor. We tried to get it in the Guinness Book of World Records, but they weren't that interested," said Mullaney.