CV trailer market to grow 2% despite weak 1H

Demand for heavy goods vehicle trailers is expected to grow 2 per cent during the course of 2013, despite a weak first six months of the year. Analysts from Clear International have issued a new reports saying as much and forecasting the demand for heavy goods trailers in Western Europe to 2017.

Although Belgium and Germany have already regained their pre-recession level of GDP, and France and the UK will do so in 2014, the Netherlands won’t get there until 2017 and Italy and Spain will take even longer. Even more importantly for trailer demand, the investment level in these seven largest economies will recover slower than the GDP increases. According to Clear, the UK and Germany will be the first countries to match their pre-recession investment levels and that will not be until 2015.

Furthermore, demand for road transport in Western Europe, measure in tonne-kilometres, continued to fall in 2012. The average fall for the seven largest economies totals 16.6 per cent since 2006.  In simple terms this means fewer trailers are required in Europe now than seven years ago, which is why we see the trailer parc (fleet size) falling in almost every country.

The trailer parc continues to fall since the demand for new trailers is lower than the replacement level required to maintain the trailer fleet at its current size. It must be emphasised that this has never happened since the heavy duty trailer was invented.  The size of the parc has always increased every year even through recessions and slowdowns.

Gary Beecroft of Clear stated: “Another fact to consider is that we have never gone more than 10 years without an economic slowdown. That means the next recession could come in 2018/19.”

However even in the conditions described above the forecast for new trailer demand is that it will match the level of 2006 (approximately) by 2016. According to Clear, it remains unlikely that the demand level of 2007/8 will be seen again. However, 2006 was the third highest level on record.

The figures for the trade in merchandised goods in the big 7 countries show an upturn from the fourth quarter 2012 and this will flow through to the demand for road transport, resulting in an improvement in most countries this year. Therefore trailer demand, though down 7.1 per cent in the first half of 2013 will be up 12.6 per cent in the second half and up 1.8 per cent for the year overall. Double digit growth is forecast in all but two of the countries covered.

Having said all that 77 per cent of all goods in Europe are moved by road and most of that proportion is transported on a trailer.

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