Business, Business Feature, Earthmoving News, Machinery News

Cobra Equipment: Shantui and custom-machinery specialist

Cobra Equipment Sales specialises in Shantui equipment, whilst also answering specific machinery inquiries that can be considered a little ‘out of the box’

Travelling in and out of China for nearly 20 years, Cobra Equipment Sales director George Nason has seen his fair share of Chinese-made earthmoving equipment.

A particular standout over his travels has been the Shantui brand, with Nason crediting its quality and cost effectiveness as an advantage over other Chinese earthmoving-branded equipment.

Using his connections in China, today his Brisbane-based Cobra Equipment Sales is an authorised dealer and distributor for Shantui equipment – and has been since 2018.

“Shantui initially approached me because they wanted a larger presence in Australia and didn’t have any dealers here,” Nason says.

This was an attractive proposition for his business at the time, as he says Shantui is the world’s largest manufacturer of bulldozers.

“There’s so many people selling excavators and loaders, but not a lot of bulldozers,” he says.

“I saw an opportunity to push the bulldozer market through Shantui’s machines.”

Originally, the Shantui brand was not that well known in Australia and Nason found it took time to communicate its high-quality standards, but now Nason says the word is out – with many Shantui machines working across the country.

Core business units

Founded in 2005, Cobra Equipment Sales has three key business units that are integral to its Shantui customers’ needs – new equipment, used equipment and spare parts.

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Cobra’s new and used equipment business units predominately focus on Shantui machinery, ranging from excavators, bulldozers, graders and wheel loaders – to name a few.

“We’ve always lead with our new equipment, but our used equipment side of the business is still important to what we do,” Nason says.

“I started Cobra because I saw the potential in quality Chinese-made new equipment for customers that would normally be looking at used equipment. Before that, I had many years of experience in the sales and operation of used equipment.

“We source used equipment that we think will be the right fit and the right price for the market.”

George Nason founded Cobra Equipment Sales in 2005. Image: Cobra Equipment Sales

Cobra’s spare parts business unit is also very important to its operations, as Nason says lots of customers have bought machinery from other now-defunct dealers and are having trouble finding spare parts.

“A lot of people thought they could get into the game by buying cheap equipment from China, and it didn’t last because they weren’t buying from top-quality brands,” he says.

“Once these businesses went broke and stopped trading, they couldn’t support their machines anymore and now there’s so many people trying to find parts.”

Due to this, spare parts have become a major part of Cobra Equipment Sales’ ongoing success.

With many connections in China and various brands manufacturing equipment there, Nason can help customers find specific spare parts – even if the equipment was bought from a business that no longer exists.

“A lot of equipment is badged as an Australian machine even though its Chinese made,” Nason says.

This is where Cobra Equipment can use its sources in China to help customers find parts that they would have trouble finding by themselves.

Tailor-made solutions

One key advantage that Nason says Cobra Equipment Sales has over other businesses is its ability to offer tailor-made custom machinery, as well as to source machines that Nason likes to call ‘out of the box’.

What he means by this is machines that are requested by a customer, that are a little bit different to the standard earthmoving machines.

Most recently, a specialist services company needed an amphibious excavator to work in a mine and Cobra was able to import one from Shantui – specifically for that customer.

At the moment, Nason says the business is in the midst of supplying a custom-designed sand drying plant and filter press system.

Cobra is supplying a custom-designed and built filter press system. Image: Cobra Equipment Sales

The filter press system was requested to get rid of mud in a body of water, with Nason saying the machine will press clean water out of the mud, recycle it and drop the sludge out dry.

“Sand mining operations usually dump sludge into a dam, and it can be a headache when they need to clean it out and dispose of it,” the Cobra Equipment founder says.

“The filter press system will clean this water and produce dry materials that are easier to handle and sell.”

Using the sand drying plant, Nason says the customer will be able to dry out the sand, which will lift the value of its end product to new markets.

A company in Papua New Guinea has also posed the question to Nason about side lift transport equipment for picking up containers, while another business has asked about rough-terrain forklifts.

“I often get people calling me up wanting to know if we can provide these specialised machines and I’m very happy to deal in this space,” he says.

“A lot of larger companies are focused on selling their standard machines and don’t have time to focus on specialised equipment, so this has given us an opportunity to venture into out of the box machinery.”

Whilst Cobra is an authorised dealer and distributor of Shantui equipment, it can also supply machinery from a range of different brands.

“We can offer anything at all, with used equipment, people will call me asking for a specific machine, and then I’ll shop around to find it,” Nason says.

“With our spare parts business unit, we mainly focus on Chinese parts, but depending on what it is we have scope to source other brands as well.”

Over his many trips to China, Nason says Cobra Equipment Sales has helped to introduce several major brands into the Australian market, including XCMG, XGMA and JCM – all sold and supported under the Cobra brand.

Now that the Shantui is more established in Australia, Nason says it has proven to be more than up to the challenge of our environment.

“Sometimes imported products lack in quality, but we stand behind the Shantui brand and its durability for Australian customers.”

For more information, visit or call 07 3379 9419.

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