MHIA’s MHEM forecast is a quarterly forecast of the $125 billion total US material handling and logistics market using the $27.1 billion material handling equipment market as a proxy.


– New orders for 2006 grew 10.0% over 2005 and set a new record high for the series at $26.3 billion; Shipments grew 13.7% in 2006

– Unfilled orders grew 14.4% in 2006 versus 2005 to finish at $8.5 billion which represents the equivalent of 4.2 months’ shipments

– Imports Increased 11.9% in 2006 over 2005, while exports grew 21.4% during that same time

– The net Trade value (imports minus exports) was $1.4 billion representing an 8.0% decline in the trade gap from 2005 from 2006

– Total US consumption for 2006 finished at $27.1 billion, growing 12.4% over 2005

2007 MHEM forecast:

– Outlook for 2007 is favorable; expect a “soft landing” in 2008

– MHIA forecasts a continued growth in new orders of 3-5% in 2007 followed by slower growth or perhaps a mild contraction in 2008

– MHIA forecasts continued growth in Shipments of 7-10% followed by a mild contraction in 2008

– MHIA forecasts that consumption will grow about 6.5-9.5% in 2007 followed by modest to no growth in 2008

Key issues:

– Energy costs and alternate energy sources will be critical for manufacturers and the supply chain

– Raw material costs, inflation and overcapacity will continue to affect operations and profitability, although some moderation is expected

– The overall state of manufacturing in the US and the continued pressure on US infrastructure due to increased imports from China and other emerging markets will continue

– Significant demographic shifts in provider and end user markets are expected due to current and impending baby boomer retirement

– The increased expansion and sophistication of distribution centers to handle rising imports coupled with a struggling US manufacturing sector means that US service sectors will dominate over the next decade, not US manufacturing

– The increase in Internet orders and fulfillment coupled with increased imports creates the need for improved reverse logistics, especially on goods from emerging markets

– Offshore transportation and tariff costs plus infrastructure concerns overseas will represent an opportunity for US manufacturing to re-gain competitiveness

– The geo-political scene and US Government policy will continue to impact the global supply chain and security

– A continued shift from full to broken and mixed-case order picking

– Emphasis on automation to overcome looming worker shortages