Congress in Cannes

24 April 2008

CECE president Henri Marchetta welcomed more than 170 attendees to this year's annual CECE Congress, which was held in Cannes, France last month.

Cece President Henri Marchetta welcomed around 170 industry representatives to last month's annual CECE Congress, which was held in Cannes, France. Senior management representatives from most of the bigger European construction equipment manufacturers were in attendance. But the event also attracted an impressive number of SMEs, who gathered to discuss common subjects.

High-level delegations from CECE's sister associations in Japan, North America and Brazil added a global component to the event. The large US-delegation was led by Gerry Shaheen, who is group president of Caterpillar and chairman of AEM, while the Japanese construction equipment industry was represented by Hiroo Shimada, president and CEO of Kobelco Construction and president of CEMA and several other participants.

Economic Trends

One session was dedicated to the economic market trends. After a global scenario for the general economic indicators, the participants looked closer at the construction activity in Europe. Specific presentations focused on the further construction equipment market development in Europe, North America, Brazil, Japan, China, the Central European markets and the development of the rental business.

Cautious optimism was a common thread in all the presentations made during the session. A slow down in sales, compared to the very positive growth in the last few years, was predicted for Europe, as well as North-America for the next two years. However, global sales are expected to stay on the very high level and a recession was not forecast.

Technical Detail

The specialists from CECE's Technical Commission discussed the consequences of the revision of the general European machinery safety directive for construction equipment manufacturers. In addition the latest developments regarding European legislation for exhaust emissions, noise and other environmental aspects were explained.

In product specific meetings, industry representatives discussed the idea of a European road map for upcoming legislation and the possibilities to increase market surveillance. The meeting also looked at the fight against non-EU legislation compliant machines, the progress in the product specific European and international standardisation and market trends.

Customer Perspective

During a general session looked at construction equipment from the viewpoints of industry, as well as its customers.

Eurovia equipment and investment manager Michel Ducasse explained his company's demand for new equipment and the criteria relevant for the selection. He also referred to the decision for buying or renting equipment and the expectations regarding the servicing of construction equipment machinery.

The rental business in Europe was the subject of a presentation by Loxam CEO Gérard Deprez, who is also president of the new European Rental Association. In his discussion, Mr Deprez described his views on the rental business in Europe and the ongoing changes in the rental industry. He also explained his perspective on the future relations between construction equipment dealers and rental companies.

Key technologies for the future in construction equipment was the subject of Dr Tim Leverton, group engineering director at JCB and vice- president of CECE's presentation. The speech focused on customer driven developments like value- added services via telematics and sustainability driven developments like hybrid power systems and “on demand energy management.

Continuing the industry view point, Wacker CEO Dr Georg Sick took a critical look at European legislation and the relevance behind it. Using the examples of the European noise directive and the so called “physical agents - vibrations directive he questioned the need for extensive and costly European legislation to regulate areas with a marginal positive effect on society.

The general discussion was concluded by French Economist Alain Simon's presenting his geopolitical approach to business strategies and Denise Austin Guillion, an international management consultant and coach, who spoke about the challenge of diversity inclusion and integration in globally acting companies.

The final highlight of the congress was a speech by Catherine Destivelle, the renowned French alpinist, who talked about the lessons she learned from her expeditions on how to reach the top.

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