Material handling marketplace poised for growth

30 August 2012


Global material handling equipment demand is forecast to climb four per cent annually through 2016 to USD 123.6bn, according to market research company Freedonia.

In the US the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) also revealed figures showing it expects the US marketplace to grow eight to nine per cent this year and more than seven per cent in 2014.

According to Freedonia the Asia/Pacific region is expected to post the fastest growth rate of any regional market through 2016, advancing 6.1 per cent per year, accounting for nearly half of global increases in demand in value terms.

India and China will see the fastest gains, in large part because of rising manufacturing output, which will spur demand for material handling equipment to facilitate distribution and production.

The US market, which had a period of sluggish gains between 2006 and 2011, will perform better through 2016 due to improved manufacturing conditions especially in the motor vehicle industry, the market research company reported. The US market is expected to remain the dominant force through 2016.

MHIA executive consultant Hal Vandiver said of the US market, "Consumers' and investors' confidence is best characterised as uncertain; unemployment, industrial production activity and factory operating rates are improving modestly. All are favourably impacting Material handling equipment manufacturers but, do not indicate robust growth.

"Residential and non-residential construction, if forecasts hold, will contribute greatly to positive growth in 2014 and beyond. We have extended the forecast of 2012 to 2013; and in 2014, indicated the expectation for a slower pace compared to our last forecast."

In the US, material handling equipment shipments grew an estimated 19.6 per cent in 2011 and are forecasted to grow nine per cent in 2012 and seven and a half per cent in 2013 and 2014. Domestic demand -- shipments plus imports less exports -- grew an estimated 21.2 per cent in 2011 and will likely mirror shipment growth in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the MHIA stated.