“Industrial production activity is increasing, even though factory operating rates (utilization) remain very low by historical comparison," says Hal Vandiver, MHIA’s executive vice president of business development.
"We continue to believe 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. Later in the cycle, MHEM will benefit from expanding residential and non-residential building sectors, but not significantly until late 2011 or even 2012.”
New orders for material handling equipment contracted 37.4% in 2009, while shipments contracted 34.4%, according to MHIA. The association expects shipments to grow 1% to 2% in 2010. Domestic demand (shipments plus imports less exports) contracted 34.7% in 2009 and will grow 1% to 2% in 2010, MHIA predicts, adding that exports and imports will improve in 2010 at about the same rate.
The MHEM forecast of material handling equipment manufacturing is released each quarter by MHIA and looks 12 to 18 months forward to anticipate changes in the material handling and logistics marketplace.