Material handling distributors expect that 2006 will be a year of steady growth, according to recent research by the Material Handling Equipment Dealers Association (MHEDA). Over 73% of those surveyed believe sales will grow this year compared to 2005, with an average rise of 13%. Still, customer consolidation and the rising costs of fuel, steel and insurance will be a concern.
In the report, which appears in the Winter 2006 edition of the MHEDA Journal, James J. Malvaso, president of the Industrial Truck Association and president of Raymond Corp. (Greene, N.Y.), projects that total lift trucks sales will show a modest 3 to 4% growth in 2006 (in the range of 186,000 to 190,000 total units), compared to 3 to 4% growth in 2005 and 20% growth in 2004 following several difficult years. John Nofsinger, CEO of the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA, Charlotte, N.C.), predicts that the storage equipment market will grow 8 to 10% in 2006, and 5 to 8% in 2007, based on normal industry cycles.
All MHEDA distributors surveyed in the Northeast expect sales to increase, but only 46% of those in the West are so bullish. The full report breaks down respondent expectation by product types and geographic regions.