The INTERMAT trade fair will open its doors on April 16, welcoming professionals from the construction equipment industry from all over the world. With over 1,500 exhibitors (of which 67% are international, representing 44 countries) and 200,000 visitors (of which 35% are international, representing 162 countries), INTERMAT is the second largest world trade fair for construction machinery and equipment, and the largest French trade fair due to its size (375,000 m2).
Since the last INTERMAT three years ago, we have seen an upturn in the equipment market, but this growth has varied widely according to its geographical location, due to major worldwide economic shifts. Indeed, forecasts for 2015 predict that Europe will represent 11% of the world market, the United States 15%, India 8% and China 49%. This increase in Chinese power is closely related to the explosion in its internal markets and especially to its policy of large-scale works scheduled to equip the country with infrastructure and buildings within the next 10 years, to meet the demands of its demographic transition. To support this policy, China must import specific products from the world over on a massive scale. For example, in 2011 alone, China purchased almost 1,900 billion euros of products from the French mechanics industry. In addition to China, the Gulf States, India and Africa are also actively sustaining the international construction materials and equipment industry; China is undertaking large-scale urban development and infrastructure projects in preparation for the post-oil years, India is extending its urban expansion and Africa is determined to resist becoming reliant on China for its materials.
With some large-scale construction projects in the pipeline, machinery and equipment manufacturers remain confident for 2012 and coming years. The continuation of the work on the Lille and Lyon stadiums, and the EPR stadium at Flamanville, as well as work underway on the French "Pentagon" and high-speed train line works are already ensuring a plentiful supply of contracts for the heavy machinery industry. To meet the demands of these large-scale engineering projects, firms in the industry have had to offer innovative materials adapted to new construction methods and to new regulations for recycling and environmental protection.
For 2012, the plans to renew existing machinery fleets are an encouraging sign of a good year to come. This renewal will buoy the internal market, which in 2011 was already worth 9.6 billion euros, broken down as follows: 4.9 billion euros in sales, 1 billion euros in direct sales and almost 3.7 billion euros for rental activity.
"As a comparison, let's remember that this figure of almost 10 billion euros is equivalent to that of the online games market or the same turnover as exports of French wines and spirits," explains Maryvonne Lanoë, Exhibition Director of INTERMAT. "So the economic weight of this sector is a reminder of what is at stake and the major role it will play in the sustainable, innovative construction of the future."