UK consultancy Clear International has issued a new forecast report for Western Europe, saying that new trailer demand will increase by more than 10 per cent in 2014 and reach the 2006 level by 2016.
“During 2012 and 2013 the date for a recovery [in Europe] has been put back with each fresh economic forecast,” said Clear’s Managing Director, Gary Beecroft. “However, in 2014, the forecast is for a solid recovery both in terms of the economic data and new trailer demand.”
According to Beecroft, several of the countries covered by the report will see trailer market growth of over 15 per cent in the time to come, and production will also have a double-digit increase in 2014. But, some obstacles still have to be overcome.
“Belgium, France and Germany have already regained their pre-recession level of GDP, and the UK will do so in 2014. However, the Netherlands won’t get there until 2017 and Italy and Spain will take even longer.”
In addition, investments levels are not expected to rise at the same speed as GDP.
“Belgium, the UK and Germany will be the first countries to match their pre-recession investment levels and that will not be until 2016. Nevertheless, investment levels will strengthen from 2014, giving trailer demand a boost.”
Beecroft also said that demand for road transport in Western Europe, which has been falling since 2008, may at last stabilise – causing a positive flow-on effect on the trailer park (fleet size).
“The trailer parc … has been falling since 2009. 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,” Beecroft said – revealing that the next slowdown is likely to hit Europe around 2018.