Nearly 7,000 trailers have been wiped from the East European trailer market forecast for the 2014-15 period because of instability in both Ukraine and Syria, according to consulting group CLEAR International.
That is in addition to the reductions made to the last forecast in March this year following the annexation of Crimea. The forecast reductions affect Russia, Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia, plus Turkey, which borders Syria.
On the other hand, in the same period, some Central European countries will enjoy double-digit growth in their trailer markets including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia.
However, for the region overall 2014 will be the fourth year in a row where trailer demand has hardly moved, either up or down. The assumption is that this will create pent-up demand resulting in improved trailer sales in both 2015 and 2016. The risk to the forecast is of course that the political/military situation may worsen rather than improve.
The good news is that for East European trade in goods, especially exports, reached an all-time high at the end of 2013, and will continue to grow throughout 2014. Also the economic forecast is for several years of GDP and investment growth, which will result in higher levels of trade and more demand for road transport. The important exceptions are Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Turkey.
Road transport in eastern Europe is different from that of the west. The demand for road transport is dominated by international journeys, unlike western Europe where most of the traffic is national in nature. Most international goods movements are undertaken using a semi-trailer.
As a consequence, some East European countries will see significant increases in new trailer demand whereas others already have a large enough trailer fleet, and only require new trailers to replace old units. They don’t need extra trailers to expand the fleet.
Gary Beecroft, managing director of CLEAR commented, “Despite the problems in the Ukraine, both it and Russia will have above-average trailer market growth in 2015-16 if matters settle down during the coming months. By 2016, trailer demand for the region will be back at the pre-recession level of 2008.”