Global MEWP rental market booming, says IPAF market study

At the end of 2017, the worldwide rental MEWP fleet size reached an estimated 1.35 million units, compared to 1.25m estimated at end 2016

Mobile elevating work platform, International powered access federation, MEWP, AWP, IPAF

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The global mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) rental market is booming, with the sector once again outstripping wider construction and sustained recovery in places such as Spain and Brazil that suffered during economic downturns, according to the latest market analysis from the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

At the end of 2017, the worldwide rental MEWP fleet size reached an estimated 1.35 million units, compared to 1.25m estimated at end 2016 – a year-on-year increase of around 8%, according to IPAF’s Powered Access Rental Market Report, exclusively compiled by leading global research intelligence company Ducker Worldwide.

The US rental market continued to power ahead, growing by around 4% in terms of fleet size with the total number of units surpassing 580,000. Rental rates continued to increase slightly and in terms of outlook similar growth is expected for 2018.

The European MEWP rental market also had another positive year in 2017; for the second year in a row all indicators were positive in all ten European countries under study, with most markets experiencing strong overall revenue growth.

There is a sense of growing optimism in southern Europe (Spain and Italy), where MEWP rental fleet sizes grew respectively by 7% and 4%. Countries that experienced relative stagnation in recent years, such as France, the Netherlands and Finland experienced close to double-digit revenue growth.

The UK, Germany and Sweden saw strong market growth for the seventh or eighth year in a row, though in Denmark and Norway revenue growth was moderate at best. In these markets competitive pressure remains strong and rental rates did not rise, or decreased slightly. Once again the MEWP rental market in the UK outstripped construction, growing by 4% against 2% for the construction sector.

Growth in South East Asia is being driven by China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in particular, while the boom in the Middle East is nowhere better exemplified than in the UAE, which experienced continued growth in fleet size and rental activity, driven in no small part by the global 2020 Expo world trade show.

Meanwhile, the Latin American MEWP rental fleet grew as a whole but more slowly than in most other markets. Positivity was underpinned in particular by the sustained recovery in Brazil, which prior to 2016 experienced several difficult years during which the market declined through a period of economic and political turbulence.

Tim Whiteman, CEO of IPAF, said: “One of the key findings this year is that, while globally the MEWP rental market looks very healthy, with positive figures and outlooks across the board, there are marked differences between key markets; for instance, the difference in average unit revenue between the US and Europe is extraordinary, standing as it does at $16,092 in the US and $11,624 in Europe.This could be down to a variety of factors, such as many European rental companies switching towards more specialist hybrid or electric equipment to keep up with market demand and comply with increasingly strict emissions regulations, or the fact that some European countries such as Spain or Italy are still recovering from the 2008-09 global downturn, while in others such as the UK or Germany high levels of competition are suppressing rental rates."

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