Thanks to an invitation from the team heading up PMV Live, I had the pleasure of participating in a roundtable panel discussion examining the state of the industry in the lead up to this month’s show.
Over the course of almost five hours we were able to get a rare opportunity to dig deep into the issues currently affecting this industry. Over the past couple of years, we’ve attempted a number of different approaches of these get togethers but this was by far the best yet – and I thank Jens Bawidamann of Putzmeister, Martin Kirby of Wolffkran Arabia; Talal Al Mahroos of MH Al Mahroos; Abdul Qader Mohamed Al Ali of Al Wasit Machinery, Nabil Al Zahlawi of NFT Cranes for sparing time and their thoughts.
I have attempted to squeeze as much as possible into the November issue of Dubai and our PMV Live Roundtable series on the website, I hope any extra material can be later placed on the website or other issues.
November is a special month for Construction Machinery Middle East as it coincides with our birthday celebrations for the magazine. As we enter our third year, it is a relief to be able to not only feel but see improvement in the market. Machines are moving again, but we are still far off the numbers of we saw pre-downturn.
Serious challenges lie ahead before we can start celebrating a brand new boom. Improvement in the UAE has masked cash flow and contract problems in Saudi Arabia. Likewise the Qatar market faces an uphill struggle to supply raw material and keep costs down as its neighbours continue to recover. And returning to the UAE, the momentum that has picked up needs to be founded on more than project restarts.
As Martin Kirby told the other panellists, the fundamentals are there. But if it is to be sustainable, the machinery contracting and supply sector needs 2014 to be based on new contracts and new projects. Only then can prices rise and value return to the market.
Eagle-eyed observers will notice Construction Machinery ME proudly boasts the Expo 2020 logo this month as we put our full support behind the bid. I’m told it’s neck and neck with Izmir, but I think it’s worth pointing out that all the panellists agreed that we can look forward to 2014 with confidence even if it goes elsewhere.
Personally I can see no better location than the UAE. Speaking to all of you makes me realise that should Dubai get chosen there is an industry ready, willing and able to make it a reality.