UK research firm Clear International has issued a new report forecasting the demand for heavy articulated trailers in Western Europe to 2017.
Compared to the company's last report published in November 2012, the economic outlook for Western Europe has been downgraded yet again.
“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,” said Clear CEO Gary Beecroft.
“Even more importantly for trailer demand, the investment level in these seven largest economies will recover more slowly than the GDP figure. 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, measured in tonne-km, has continued to fall into 2012, according to Clear. “The average fall for the G7 economies is 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. Historically, this has never happened since the heavy duty trailer was invented, according to Clear. In fact, the size of the parc has always increased every year even through recessions and slowdowns.
Gary Beecroft of CLEAR stated that “Another fact to consider is that we have never gone more than ten years without an economic slowdown. That means the next recession could come in 2018/19.”