Manufacturers at the chief Hire Show (EHS) reported an uptick in demand from rental companies within the UK following the election end in December.
Alessandro Rossi, director of Italy-based Generac Mobile Products, told IRN that the united kingdom market had been relatively stagnant most of last year, as people were waiting to ascertain what would happen with Brexit and therefore the election .
I am hopeful that the united kingdom government will put more focus back on investment in construction, like infrastructure products, now that the primary stage of Brexit is over.
When asked about the likelihood of tariffs on goods imported to the united kingdom from the EU, he said, “Pramac-Generac is within the same boat as other non-domestic suppliers, so I’m not particularly worried about tariffs.”
The EHS, held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, UK, on 5 and 6 February, had a busy feel on both days. Official visitor numbers have yet to be released, but organisers were reporting record attendance on the primary day.
Ian Brown, director of UK dumper manufacturer Thwaites, echoed Rossi’s sentiment about government investment, saying,
We saw a slowdown within the UK market before the election at the top of 2019, but it's since picked up again, and that we are anticipating investment in housing and infrastructure within the year ahead.”
Of course, one major infrastructure scheme currently under review is that the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project. Brown said the choice of whether or not the project goes ahead would have an indirect effect on Thwaites, since the project would create demand for giant earthmoving equipment and Thwaites dumpers would be used more for the development of depots to support the project.
Atlas Copco saw a surge in activity after the election too, consistent with Gayle Palmer, line Manager, Portable Energy; “November and December are usually quiet months for us, but in 2019 they were very busy.
Image Credit: thecea.org.uk / Louise Carney
“Confidence has been restored within the market. and that we are happy to ascertain the pound strengthening against the euro because Atlas Copco manufactures on the continent in Europe and has been trying to not pass extra cost on to customers thanks to currency fluctuations.”
Palmer also noted that the Coronavirus could affect supply chains, since Atlas Copco uses components from China, but the corporate has yet to ascertain the effect of that.
Morris Site Machinery’s director Allan Binstead, who also mentioned the recent increase in UK demand, told IRN about the company’s £6 million investment during a new manufacturing facility north of Birmingham, UK – an indicator of its confidence within the market.
The 5,600m2 building will have double the assembly capacity of the prevailing factory 5km away at Wolverhampton. Work started in November 2019 and is thanks to be completed towards the top of 2020.
Receiving orders at the show was Altrad Belle, which was displaying its new 1 tonne capacity DX 1000 Hi-Tip dumper.
“Three Irish rental companies have bought units at the show thus far ,” said Ray Neilson, the manufacturer’s director . “They are Clem Jacob Hire, Whitlow Plant Hire and KDM Hire. Each have bought one unit.”
He added that the model is now Speedy Hire’s standard dumper during this class, having won second place within the innovation award at the rental company’s conference last year.
Altrad Belle plans to roll 300 units off the road in its first year of production. The model has been in production for nine months. it's only available within the UK at the present , but are going to be launched on the ecu market during a few years, once production capacity has been ramped up.
Meanwhile, Doosan Portable saw an honest level of activity throughout 2019, but this was attributed to small independent rental companies; the massive national players are holding off on purchases. There are signs that this may change in 2020, though, with large rental companies now talking about buying.
This corresponds with a comment from Kevin Minton, Chief Executive of the UK’s Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA), who said he was getting a “mixed picture” on market conditions from the association’s rental company members, with some reporting brisk trading et al. with idle machines in their yards.
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