Additional expansion anticipated from US retreading industry
A report recently released by the United States International Trade Commission gives an overview of the country’s retreading industry, a sector within the tyre business that appears to be benefitting from an improving US economy and a supply-demand imbalance within the new tyre sector.
The USITC claims that the US is the largest tyre remanufacturer in the world, and between 2009 and 2011 the value of the country’s remanufactured production grew by 15 per cent to at least $43.0 billion, supporting 180,000 full-time US jobs. Between 2009 and 2011, U.S. exports of retreaded tyres increased by about 17 percent to $18.5 million. In the same period, US imports of retreaded tyres jumped by 90 per cent to $11.4 million, primarily from Canada.
In 2011 the United States was home to approximately 680 companies that produced retreaded truck tyres, 18 firms producing OTR retreads and five producing retreaded aviation tyres. The USITC shares that these companies range in size from small “mom and pop” operations producing 20 or less retreads a day to large factories processing more than 1,000 retreaded tyres daily. Approximately 90 per cent of all retreads produced in the US fall under the umbrella of the ‘big three’ tyre makers – Goodyear, Bridgestone and Michelin.
A rebounding US economy and a relatively short supply of new tyres, due in part to increasing transportation demand, helped to raise demand for and production of retreaded tyres in the US, particularly in the truck, aviation and OTR segments. In 2011, US retreaders operated at near full capacity, with the availability of casings the only major limitation. An estimated 60 per cent of all US retreaders expanded production capacity between 2009 and 2011. The USITC projects that the US retread industry is “anticipated to continue to upgrade and expand retreading operations in response to continued growth of the US economy.”
Figures given for other regions indicate that “leading exporters” within the European Union exported US$123.4 million worth of retreaded tyres in 2011, thereby accounting for more than half of all global exports, which amounted to $253.3 million. EU and global exports increased by 34.7 per cent and 35.7 per cent respectively between 2009 and 2011. In 2011, the European Union imported $13.9 million worth of retreads from other regions, a 59.3 per cent increase on 2009 imports.
Between 2009 and 2011, global exports of used tyres and tyre casings increased 27 per cent to $385.5 million, with the European Union accounting for $105.1 million of this figure. EU exports increased 17.7 per cent between 2009 and 2011. The European Union imported $38.1 million worth of used tyres and casings in 2011, a 6.8 per cent increase between 2009 and 2011.