UK market research company Clear International is expecting trailer demand in Western Europe to grow by 10 per cent in 2014.
The forecast is part of Clear’s most recent update on the state of Europe’s heavy trailer industry, indicating transport businesses are becoming more confident to invest into new equipment again.
“Trailer demand, though down 9.5 per cent in the first half of 2013, will be up 13.2 per cent in the second half and up 0.8 per cent for the year overall,” said Clear CEO, Gary Beecroft.
“In 2014, the forecast is for a solid recovery both in terms of the economic data and new trailer demand. The latter will increase by more than 10 per cent, and several countries will have trailer market growth of over 15 per cent.”
According to Beecroft, trailer demand could be back to the 2006 level by 2016, but it remains unlikely that the record level of 2007/8 will be seen again.
Demand for road transport*, meanwhile, is said to stabilise as well. Since 2006, demand had been falling at an average rate of 20 per cent for the “Big 7” economies in Europe.
Although trailer demand is expected to pick up soon, overall growth in the Eurozone is still stagnating. In fact, Clear’s outlook has been downgraded slightly compared to the last report issued in May.
“Although Belgium, France and Germany have already regained their pre-recession level of GDP, 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 Beecroft.
“Even more importantly for trailer demand, the investment level in the seven largest economies will recover more slowly than the GDP figure.”
According to Beecroft, Belgium, the UK and Germany will be the first countries to match their pre-recession investment levels, but not before 2016. Nevertheless, investment levels will strengthen from 2014 giving trailer demand a boost.
“The figures for the trade in merchandised goods in the big 7 countries have also stabilised and should grow in 2014. This will flow through to the demand for road transport, resulting in an improvement in most countries in the coming twelve months,” said Beecroft.
“Trailer production, having fallen by 9.8 per cent from the 2011 level, will [therefore] have a double digit increase in 2014.”
*measured in tonne-km