Canadian Plastics

Demand for materials handling equipment keeps growing: report

The next 18 months should be good ones for the materials handling industry.

May 24, 2013   Canadian Plastics

The next 18 months should be good ones for the materials handling industry.

MHI, formerly known as the Material Handling Institute, is forecasting that orders for new materials handling equipment are expected to grow between five and six per cent in 2013. MHI expects 2014 to exhibit even stronger growth, and projects an increase in sales of 10 per cent or more.

This comes after a strong 2012 when materials handling equipment new orders grew 7.2 per cent.

“As the current US economic expansion shifts from capital expenditure-driven to consumer-led, we anticipate modest, positive materials handling equipment manufacturing (MHEM) growth for 2013,” said Hal Vandiver, an executive consultant with the Charlotte, N.C.-based MHI. “Housing, automotive rebounds and expansion in industrial, warehouse and commercial buildings (over 69 per cent between 2014 and 2018) will contribute substantially to improved MHEM growth for 2014 and beyond.”


Shipments of materials handling equipment were also up last year – increasing 9.8 per cent from 2011 – and MHI predicts they will continue to rise, forecasting a growth rate of 3.5 per cent in 2013 followed by a 9.1 per cent increase in 2014.

U.S. domestic demand (shipments plus imports less exports) grew 10.9 per cent in 2012 and is estimated by MHI to grow 3.4 per cent in 2013 and just over 9.5 percent in 2014.

But despite the positive outlook, there were a few statistics that showed signs of weakness. MHEM trade growth slowed by more than 50 per cent in 2012, and U.S. import growth in 2012 was 19.9 per cent lower than the 2011 figure. U.S. export growth was 11.2 per cent in 2012, down from 26.2 per cent in 2011. MHEM imports and exports are expected to slow dramatically in 2013 and rebound modestly beginning mid-2014.

All figures come from MHI’s latest Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing (MHEM) Forecast, which is produced every quarter.

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