Brazil means business: a report on the access suppliers at the M&T exhibition.

By Maria Hadlow14 August 2012

Sergio Kariya, Mills Rental's managing director, said all models in his fleet are booming. “The cult

Sergio Kariya, Mills Rental's managing director, said all models in his fleet are booming. “The culture of using aerial work platforms is changing,” he said. Mills’ fleet consists of 60% booms and 40%

More than 54600 attendees from 71 countries filled the indoor and outdoor spaces at the M&T Expo. All sorts of access equipment was on display, illustrating the newly found awareness in aerial work platforms in the country and region. The increased awareness for AWPs is due to Brazil's recently passed NRA18 regulation; an OSHA-type standard for working safely at heights.

Major themes at the show included an overall concern about the lack of skilled labour due to increasing construction projects, and for the AWP and telehandler side, the transitioning from phase 1 to phase 2 of "Minha Casa Minha Vida" (My House My Life), which is the Brazilian government's social housing initiative for low-middle income families.

Paulo Esteves, director of rental company Solaris, said the struggle to find quality workers increases as more and more companies infiltrate the area and keep hold of skilled people. "There is very strong competition with lots of new companies coming into the market," he said. "The market has grown too fast. In the next two to three years this market will be more consolidated but regional and national rental companies will survive."

Mr Esteves said there is a direct relation between the growing telehandler market and Minha Casa Minha Vida. "In one year (2011) we had 10-years' worth of telehandlers coming into the market," he said. However, with phase 2 of Minha Casa Minha Vida now taking place, less telehandlers are needed whereas more aerial work platforms will now come into play.

Sergio Kariya, Mills Rental's managing director, also noted the increase in telehandlers. "Last year we had 300 units," he said. "This year we have 1000. The project for low income housing was booming last year but it is slowing down. The market [next year] for telehandlers won't be like it was this year."

As for Solaris, Mr Esteves plans to grow his fleet by 20% in 2012 compared to last year's 30% increase. "This year is flat, but for the next three years, the market will grow."

At the show, Terex Aerial Work Platforms said it is in its second year of a 5- to 7-year growth cycle and that major rental companies in North America are contributing to the growth.

Matt Fearon, vice president and general manager, Terex AWP Americas, said the aerial work platform business is "extremely healthy right now. We saw the market turn in late 2010 and 2011 was very good for us. We're off to a great start for 2012," he said.

A lot of the demand is being driven by large rental companies in both North America and Australia. "We are starting to see a switch from refleeting to growth, which is very encouraging" Fearon said.

Rental companies are investing heavily across Terex AWP's entire aerial product line, Fearon said, but there is a slightly larger interest in "anything electric" such as electric scissors and booms, as well as mid-sized diesel booms.

Terex also said it will introduce new products to the market soon but Mr Fearon would not elaborate. "You'll just have to wait and see," he joked.

Terex is investing more products and people into the South American market. Jacob Thomas, president of Terex Latin America, told ALH that 25% of the developing market for Terex is Latin America. At the show, Terex debuted the Genie S-3800 self-propelled telescopic boom lift, the Genie GS-4069RT rough terrain, self-propelled scissor lift and the Genie GTH-5519 telehandler.

Also looking to grow in Latin America is French aerial work platform manufacturer Haulotte Group. Haulotte is forecasting a 30% market share of the AWP market in Latin America by 2015, nearly doubling its current share of 16%, the company said. Haulotte said it currently produces 7000 units for the Latin American market and forecasted that number to grow to 10000 units in the coming year. "We are estimating an AWP growth per year of 5 to 8%," said Alexander Saubot, Haulotte's CEO.

Saubot said Haulotte's main markets in Latin America consist of Brazil, Chile and Argentina with Brazil holding 65% of the share, followed by 12% for Chile and 9% for Argentina.

The company said 40% of its units in the market are electric scissors followed by articulating, rough terrain booms accounting for 25 % and 15% are articulating booms.

Haulotte celebrated being established in Brazil for 10 years at M&T and is looking to expand its dealership network, spare parts distribution and sales in the Latin American market. The company featured a wide range of its access products on stand, with one big surprise - the HA41PX-NT painted green and yellow for the Brazilian market.

Meanwhile, Chinese aerial work platform manufacturers were out in force at M&T, showcasing a range of products and services According to Sergio Kariya with Mills, interest from Chinese companies has skyrocketed in the past three years. Kariya told ALH that 37% of the AWPs that came into the market this year were Chinese.

"Two years ago there were maybe two or three [Chinese] machines coming into the market," Kariya said.

One company investing into the Brazilian market is Chinese hoist and tower crane manufacturer GJJ. GJJ's Wu Zhijia told ALH that it currently has more than 200 mast climbing and hoist units in Brazil. (see feature page 35)

Another Chinese access manufacturer, Sinoboom, exhibited at M&T and was using the show to promote its products as well as find dealers. The company is one of the largest access platform manufacturers in China with a production capacity of around 400 units a year, but is investing in a larger facility in Changsha, which will boost its capacity to around 2000 machines annually.

At the show, Sinoboom's newest dealer - local air compressor manufacturer ARBrasil - displayed a Sinoboom AWP at its booth. "It just arrived two weeks ago," ARBrasil's director, Gilson Macedo Santana, told ALH.

Mr Santana said he became interested in distributing Sinoboom products because of the "very strong market for this type of equipment." ARBrasil will offer customers four models of Sinboom booms.

Mantall Heavy Industry, a privately owned aerial work platform manufacturer based in Jiangsu, China, also exhibited at M&T. The company plans to open an office in Brazil by the end of 2012 to better serve the market.

Company president Lee Shen, who founded Mantall six years ago, said Mantall has been involved in the Latin American market, particularly in Brazil, for the last three years but want to open an office to provide after-sales services for customers. "This is a big market and we want Mantall dealers and we are looking for rental companies," said Mr Shen.

The company currently exports machines from China to Chile, Argentina and Brazil. "There's good development in Brazil," Mr Shen said. "Our quality is good, price is good and people like [the products.]"

JLG showed a new electric scissor lift and personal lift for the Brazilian market at M&T.

The 3248RS has a working height of 32 ft (9.75m) and a capacity of 705lb (320kg). The LiftPod FS80 is a portable and affordable alternative to ladders, rolling ladders and scaffolding. JLG is aiming these products toward rental companies, Richard Field, strategic director of corporate accounts said.

"The company hopes that with this fair, JLG will achieve greater brand recognition, not only in Brazil but throughout Latin America," said Tim Morris, vice president of sales, market development and support for the Americas.

Marcio Cardoso, director of sales and marketing for JLG South America said the company sold 2200 machines in South America in 2011; "a fairly high number compared to 2010."

Cardoso said JLG is always looking for further expansion and is now also focusing on parts availability in the region. "We increased our inventory of parts to $3 million and doubled the number of support staff," he said.

Italy's Socage displayed units at M&T through its new partnership with insulated platform manufacturer Guiton. GS - Guiton Socage exhibited the SPJ315, a very compact tracked unit and the DA320, a double articulated vehicle mounted aerial platform. GS is extending its market in South America by collaboration with three other companies (see news page 8)

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) used M&T to reach out to its growing number of Brazilian members and spread the word about its training.

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