In October 2009, MHIA predicted 2009 would end with a total decline ranging from 35% to 38%. Now, the final numbers are in, and it looks like MHIA was on target. Material handling equipment orders contracted 37.4% in 2009, according to the new forecast.
Also in October, MHIA forecasted growth in the 2% to 3.5% range for 2010, but the more recent forecast is more optimistic. Today, MHIA expects material handling equipment orders to grow 6% to 8.5% in 2010.
“Industrial production activity is increasing, even though factory operating rates (utilization) remain very low by historical comparison,” says Hal Vandiver, MHIA executive vice president of business development. “MHIA believes that demand created as the economy shifts from recession into recovery mode (filling supply chain pipelines, re-establishing inventories, and responding to pent-up demand) is the principal impetus for improvement over the next few quarters in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution.”
The MHEM forecast also reported that material handling equipment shipments contracted 34.4% in 2009, but growth in the range of 1% to 2% is expected in 2010. Domestic demand (shipments plus imports less exports) contracted 34.7% in 2009 and will grow 1% to 2% in 2010. Exports and imports will improve in 2010 at about the same rate, according to the forecast.
MHIA’s quarterly MHEM forecast looks 12 to 18 months forward to anticipate changes in the material handling and logistics marketplace.